Tekapo wētā

The Tekapo ground wētā is thought to be extremely rare, and lives on river margins near Takapō/Tekapo. It burrows in silty soils and usually prefers to live on river terraces. But in times of severe flooding it’s burrows can be covered with water and silt, making them very vunerable. Weeds are also a problem for this insect as they bind up the soil making it hard for them to burrow. Ideally they need quite specific conditions, preferring a mix of silt and gravel. Off-road vehicles can disturb their burrows as well. To the excitement of scientists, a relatively large population of the Tekapo ground wētā was found in 2021 when DOC staff were removing skinks from a pest-free enclosure at Paterson’s Terrace.