- Little Barrier giant wētā, Deinacrida heteracantha
- 71 gram(s)
- New Zealand (Little Barrier Island)
The heaviest verified weight for any specimen of insect is 71 g (2.5 oz) for a pregnant female Little Barrier giant wētā or wētāpunga (Deinacrida heteracantha), discovered in 2011 by US scientist Mark Moffett. This grasshopper-like bug is found exclusively in forests on Little Barrier Island, off New Zealand's North Island. This giant wētā grows to around 7.5 cm (3 in) long, although females are significantly larger than males.
Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the heaviest insect species overall for decades. Some authorities have cited a maximum weight of 70–100 g (2.5–3.5oz) for certain species of Goliath beetle (family Scarabaeidae) of equatorial Africa – such as Goliathus regius, G. meleagris, G. goliatus (=G. giganteus) and G. druryi. However, this appears to apply only to the weight of their larvae; adult Goliath beetles weigh less, falling within the 40–50 g (1.4–1.7 oz) range. Other candidates that can reach similar weights are the Actaeon beetle (Megasoma actaeon), elephant beetle (M. elephas) and titan beetle (Titanus giganteus).
Beetles in their larval stage can attain much greater weights. The heaviest insect larva was an unusually large male specimen of Actaeon beetle bred in Japan in 2009 that weighed 228 g (8 oz) – about the same as a brown rat. It is native to the northern regions of South America; the mother of this specimen had been collected in Peru.