Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Biggest, heaviest, smallest?

Giant weta.

Giant weta.

  • The biggest wingspan of any insect living today is about 35 cm for the hercules moth (Coscinocera hercules) of Australia.
  • The heaviest insect is probably the goliath beetle (Goliathus goliath) of Africa, which is reputed to weigh up to 100 grams (more than a small bird)!
  • We have an insect in New Zealand, the giant wētā or wētāpungā (Deinacrida heteracantha, only found today on Little Barrier Island), which is very big and can weigh up to 71 grams.
  • At the other end of the scale, there are very tiny wasps called mymarid wasps (fairy flies) which are less than 0.4 mm in length, and these are regarded as the smallest insects.