Hemideina ricta

Anostostomatidae  : Deinacridinae

The Banks Peninsula tree weta is an enigma. The very eastern population is relatively easy to recognise but it interbreeds with Hemideina femorata in the central portion of the peninsula, though the progeny are apparently unable to reproduce. It is found in remnants of lowland forest especially under the bark of totara trees and old kanuka. It has even been found in fenceposts bordering forest reserves and in rocky areas within farmland. In the forest and shrublands of the peninsula's western hills lives only Hemideina femorata. 100 km to the west in a very different, subalpine habitat of stony groundDracophyllum, Coriaria and Hebe etc is a weta that is genetically very similar to Hemideina ricta but is otherwise indistinguishable from Hemideina maori. This raises doubts as to the real status of these three species.

Text updated: 23/06/2006