Food of Cook Strait giant wētā, Deinacrida rugosa on Matiu/Somes Island: do plant nutrient levels influence wētā distribution?
Cook Strait giant weta, Deinacrida rugosa Buller, 1871 (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae) has been one of the most frequently translocated insects for conservation purposes in New Zealand with 538 individuals being involved in seven translocations between 1977 and 2010.The second translocation was made in 1996 when 62 individuals were released at the north end of Matiu/Somes Island, Wellington Harbour. We subsequently studied the giant weta population on Matiu/Somes Island between 2007 and 2016, and found that its geographic distribution changed with time. In 2008, most weta were found at the north of the island and were rarely encountered at the south end because they were still becoming established there. Conversely, by 2013 most weta were encountered in the southwest of the island and few were found in the north. This remained the distribution in 2015 and 2016.