Great Barrier Phenomenon
American entomologist Mark Moffett, 53, claimed he discovered the largest weta of the species ever found. International publications, such as the Daily Mail, The Huffington Post and Telegraph, have declared Moffett’s find the world’s biggest insect in terms of weight, which at 71g is heavier than a sparrow and three times that of a mouse. New Zealand insect expert, bug man Ruud Kleinpaste, a trustee of Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, has played down the significance of the find. “There’s nothing unusual to find these weta,” Kleinpaste said, though he thought the publicity for the species could be a good thing. “I think it’s wonderful as long as weta get the attention.” Moffett found the female weta up a tree on Great Barrier Island. The size of the Great Barrier weta is an example of island gigantism, which is a biological phenomenon leading to a larger size than their mainland relatives because of their isolation and lack of large predators.