Rare wētā discovered in Mackenzie Basin sanctuary (Timaru Herald)

A rare species of wētā has been found in an enclosure for rare grasshoppers in the Mackenzie Basin.

Te Manahuna Aoraki, a multi-agency project with the aspiration of turning the Mackenzie Basin into a predator free zone, has built a fence protecting the robust grasshopper, one of the rarest insects in the country.

However, it has not only proved a suitable habitat for the robust grasshopper, but also for a rare species of wētā.

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff were removing skinks from the grasshopper enclosure when they found a moderately large population of wētā.

Recently, scientists have identified the wētā as Tekapo ground wētā – which was classified as nationally critical.