The critically threatened Mt. Arthur giant wētā (Deinacrida tibiospina) is an ambassador for the alpine habitat and invertebrate conservation. It lives on only a few mountain ranges in Kahurangi National Park, but its home on Wharepapa | Mt. Arthur is visible from Nelson and is visited by thousands of people every year. Like all giant wētā, Deinacrida tibiospina is heavily armoured, with large plates on their back. It is one of the smallest known species of giant wētā reaching only around 30-40mm and 7g. Adults can be varying shades of brown, sometimes with a reddish hue, while nymphs are black and gold. Deinacrida means ‘terrible grasshopper’, the name derived from the Greek word δεινός (same root as for dinosaur, the ‘terrible lizards’), perhaps a description of the characteristic ‘armouring’, while tibiospina refers to the dramatic spines on its hind legs. Thanks to the mahi of the volunteer conservation group Friends of Flora (FOF), who have monitored its abundance since 2016, the threats from mice and climate change to this charismatic giant wētā are beginning to be understood. FOF’s work demonstrates that local, dedicated groups of volunteers can make a difference for invertebrate conservation, even in the unforgiving alpine environment.
Check these links for more info on Mt Arthur Giant Wētā in NZ
Wikipedia: Information on Deinacrida tibiospina
Friends of Flora: More info on Mt. Arthur Giant Wētā
Click on the image to visit the official iNaturalist.nz observation.