Hemideina maori

Anostostomatidae  : Deinacridinae

Widespread in the South Island, the rock weta ranges from cool-temperate shrubland on depleted stony soils (eg Mackenzie Basin riverbeds) to alpine grassland and screes. It is relatively common at most sites. On Mou Waho and Mou Tapu, islands in Lake Wanaka on which there are no rats, individuals wander around at night on the ground (see photo) and climb trees, often resting during the day within the mass of dead leaves drooping from the heads of cabbage (ti) trees. It is strongly suspected that this cool lowland forest was once its usual habitat but now it is restricted to even cooler, upland sites in the mountains that have fewer rats. It exhibits the usual behaviours of its congeners by raising its hind legs and "kicking" whereby a faint rasping noise is produced. It also will turn on its back, stretch out all its legs and open its jaws as a deterrent to any predator. Although most individuals have the distinct dark banding on the tergites and fine spots over the paler areas, a few individuals are overall dark reddish-brown and the mottling is hardly differentiated from the background.

Text updated: 27/09/2015