Some of the most interesting subjects for Photographers come from the Insect world. For us it is not just the taking a decent shot it is creating opportunity to do so. Being small often means getting close and using Macros. This also requires the subject to be still long enough to get a shot. Tell a bee or wasp to keep still and they will fly away or flit about. Some insects need a bit of luck. Most require patience and time.
We found that we are not the fastest shooters, so good fortune has to be on our side as well. We have had a bit of luck and slowly are increasing our insects gallery in our SmugMug porfilio.
This is demonstrated by an incident on a recent morning. Rose called me into her sewing room where a Weta was there on were wall ( this is the photo included with this blog ). We have lived at our current address and this is the first Weta we have sen in 16 years. So cameras were grabbed and shot taken. Before Rose carefully removed the Weta and took it outside to our garden
The shot is of this Tree Weta (Hemideina thoracica) which is those most commonly found throughout the North Island apart from the Wellington-Wairarapa region. They are generally up to 40 mm long and most commonly live in holes in trees formed by beetle and moth larvae or where rot has set in after a twig has broken off. The hole, called a gallery, is maintained by the weta and any growth of the bark surrounding the opening is chewed away. They readily occupy a preformed gallery in a piece of wood (a weta motel) and can be kept in a suburban garden as pets. A gallery might house a harem of up to ten juveniles of both sexes, females and one male. They favour the tree Putaputaweta (Carpodetus serratus). The name of this tree derives from the fact that holes that occur in the trunk are where weta often live. Putaputaweta in Maori means “many wetas” – refers to wetas living in the holes left by Puriri moth larvae.
Tree weta is nocturnal. They eat the leaves of many different plants but prefer the softer leaves of species such as Mahoe or Karamu and they also eat small insects.
The males, which usually have much larger jaws than the females and hiss and bite when threatened. Like grasshoppers, they have ears on their front legs.
Tree weta bites are painful but not particularly common. Weta can inflict painful scratches, with the potential of infection, but their defence displays consist of looking large and spiky and they will retreat if given a chance. Tree weta arch their hind legs into the air in warning to foes and then striking downwards so that the spines could scratch the eyes of a predator. Pegs or ridges at the base of the abdomen are struck by a patch of fine pegs at the base (inner surface) of the legs and this action makes a distinctive sound. These actions are also used in defence of a gallery by competing males.
The female weta looks as if she has a stinger , but it is an ovipositor, which enables her to lay eggs inside rotting wood or soil. Most wetas lives for around 2 years, during which they evolve from an egg to a series of immature forms, known as instars, and finally to full adult maturity.