Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weta midwives

Photo: Robert Kitchin/Fairfax NZ

If you caught last Saturday's Manawatu Standard article about the baby cave weta at Te Manawa, you may have noticed that Ange and I have been coined 'weta midwives' due to our successful breeding of cave weta babies.

If you didn't catch it, read it here: Skittish cave dwellers

After reading this article, you might come away thinking "Wow, these guys don't really know much about cave weta at all". And you would be pretty much correct. Cave weta are tricky to study and little has been formally documented about this species, in addition to the difficulty with what constitutes a single species of weta in the first place. Luckily Steve Trewick and his team at Massey are on the case to try to shed more light on weta genetics, and in the meantime, we at Te Manawa will continue collecting as much info as we can on the topic of captive management and breeding.

You may interested to know that since the publishing of this article last week, we have been able to spot nine babies and the biggest babies are growing fast! It will be very exciting to track the progress of these babies as they grow and develop.

If you are visiting Te Manawa and want to spot the babies, you will need to ask a Visitor Host to point them out for you. Or, you can also catch one of us Animal Keepers every Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 3pm when we do our Public Fish Feeding.

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