Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wanna see a big bug?


This is a Weta! They are native to New Zealand and is a classic example of island ecology and evolution.

When species become confined to islands, the limited amount of resources creates a bottleneck. Some surviving species respond to the limit of resources by reducing or eliminating body parts they don't need, such as wings. In such a case, large animals tend to get smaller - the smaller you are, the less resources and space you need. The best example of this is the Dwarf Elephant. Smaller animals, on the other hand, get considerably larger as to access a greater selection of the limited resources, among other reasons. The dodo is another great example. Not only did this pigeon relative become huge (a meter high!) but it became flightless. These cricket-like insects are also flightless (for the majority of species).

When I saw this guy in my Biogeography class, my jaw dropped in astonishment. How would you like to come across this guy during a hike?

(Picture swipped from http://justsixlegs.blogspot.com/2008/10/giant-weta.html).

4 comments:

Pike said...

A part of me is afraid of it, yet another part of me isn't.

Cause it looks like a big cricket, and I handle crickets every day at work. >.>

Neggles said...

That's how I think about it. When I spent a summer internship at the Sedgwick County Zoo in the Reptile and Amphibian House, I had to clean the cricket cages daily.

Though, it was that summer I also developed my irrational fear of cockroaches... /shudder

Sarai said...

Picture doesn't load for me, and when i click it, it takes me to a page with Japanese writing all over it. O.o

Neggles said...

Yeah, not sure why it keeps doing that...