One of The Biggest Bugs on Earth Today
Do you remember how it felt the last time you had a mouse in your home? Nobody likes seeing a mouse crawl around their house! Well, imagine seeing a nasty bug the size of a mouse! That's just about how big the Giant Weta is. Native to New Zealand, they can weigh up o 2.5 ounces by the time they become full grown adults, although not every giant weta grows to be that big. The giant weta loves to snack on carrots, and in zoos that they are kept in they feed them carrots and shallots for their main meals. Not only is this bug one of the biggest insects on Earth, but it is also one of the oldest creatures that is still walking the planet. There have been fossils of the giant weta found in sediment that date the fossils back to the Triassic period 190 million years ago. As with many bugs we have discussed in this blog, the giant weta is getting close to extinction, but thanks to the help of scientists and zoologists, they are beginning to make a comeback. These bugs are bred exclusively in captivity, as we try to grow the population back to a level where they can sustain themselves. In 2013 at the Auckland Zoo they hatched so many baby giant weta, they had to hire on many more workers just to feed all of the babies!
Like lots of other insects, the giant weta does not have lungs. It instead breathes though its exoskeleton. It uses these tiny holes to bring oxygen into its body, then its organs pump the oxygen to every cell inside of the bugs body. Most bugs don't have hears. They have eardrum like areas covering their whole body. Unlike most bugs though, the giant weta has ears. However, its ears are located on its knees!