There are over 70 species of wētā unique to New Zealand, including 11 species of giant wētā, of which the wētāpunga is the largest.

Female wētāpunga are larger than the males. Most female wētāpunga reach a weight of 35 grams - heavier than your average house sparrow

Once widespread throughout Northland, Auckland and Great Barrier, they're now only naturally found on Hauturu (Little Barrier Island)

Since 2012, Auckland Zoo has bred and released more than 2,200 wētāpunga onto pest-free Motuora, Tiritiri Matangi and privately owned Motuhorapapa and Otata islands in The Noises.

Video

A very special insect

In today's Zoo Tales episode, ectotherms keeper Ben invites you to get up-close and personal with a very special insect – the wētā punga.