The most distinguishing feature of the tree weta genus Hemideina (Orthoptera: Anostostomatidae) is their cephalic weaponry, which is thought to be the result of sexual selection on males to aggressively defend groups of reproductive females. Mountain stone weta H. maori is a tree weta that shelters in cavities under flat rocks on rocky outcrops in the alpine region of the South Island.
Although reproductive and behavioural studies have been conducted on captive tree weta, there have been very few ecological field studies of any of the weta species involving free-ranging, marked individuals. The mountain stone weta (Hemideina maori) is a tree weta that lives on rock tors in the alpine region of the South Island of New Zealand. Over three seasons each of 480 adults and 789 juveniles was individually marked on four large and 14 small tors to gather baseline information on aspects of H. maori’s life cycle and life history.
Mountain stone weta (Hemideina maori) on the Rock and Pillar Range in the South Island, New Zealand, are found primarily in cavities under flat rocks on isolated outcrops or 'tors'. We marked 66 adult weta on one tor and 30 adults on an adjacent tor and recorded their location during the summer and for the following three years to obtain baseline data on survival, longevity, dispersal, and movement within tors. It was not uncommon for adult weta to live for two to three years. Most marked weta were resighted at least once, usually under the same rock.
Two tree weta Hemideina ricta and H. femorata are predominantly allopatric on Banks Peninsula (South Island, New Zealand) except for four small areas of overlap. H. ricta was found over the outer eastern portion of Banks Peninsula including the eastern slopes of Akaroa Harbour whereas H. femorata was usually lower down on the eastern edge of Akaroa Harbour and west of this. H. ricta ranged from 20 m to 806 m in altitude whereas all H. femorata were found below 450 m. Ninety-four per cent of H.