Mr. T. Kirk, President, in the chair.
It was announced that Major-General Schaw had been nominated to vote in the election of Governors of the New Zealand Institute for the ensuing year, and that Mr. W. Mitten, F.L.S., was nominated as an honorary member of the Institute.
Papers.—1. “On a New Species of Deinacrida, or Forest-cricket, from Nelson,” by Sir W. Buller. (Transactions, p. 323.)
Mr. Travers said he thought it was the larva and not the complete insect that bored the holes in trees. He showed some fine specimens of another kind from an island near D'Urville Island. They were found among the stones on the beach.
Mr. Hudson said this was a most interesting paper. This group of insects was peculiar to New Zealand. It is difficult to say how long they take to become perfect. Some other species also drill holes in wood.
Mr. Kirk said it would be interesting if it could be ascertained how long it took the insect to reach full growth. In the Kaipara district these insects live on the palm. He had never heard before that the weta was poisonous.
Mr. Hustwick said that in Nelson it was supposed to be poisonous.
Sir W. Buller, in reply, stated that, in addition to its small size, the larva was light-coloured. It subsisted chiefly on wood, and probably enlarged its home as it increased in size. He always found the large species (Deinacrida heteracantha) on branches of trees, where, according to the Maoris, it subsisted on green leaves. He believed this latter species had been extinct on the mainland for twenty-five years or more, but it was still occasionally to be met with on some of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf. The specimen exhibited measured, with appendages, not less than 12in. in extent. The two fine specimens, male and female, shown by Mr. Travers belonged to the species Deinacrida rugosa, Buller (vol. iii. of the Transactions). Till now the type-specimen in Mr. P. Buller's collection was unique. It was interesting to learn that it lived among the rocks. The type came from Nelson, from Mr. Brough, the discoverer of the new species described this evening. As to the alleged venomous nature of the weta's bite, he could not speak from his own observation, but he had experienced a stinging sensation on being pricked by one of the spurs of the hind legs. He had once suffered severely from the bite of the spider Latrodectus katipo, and this had taught him caution in such matters. It would be interesting to test the potency of the
weta's bite, if some enthusiastic votary of science would submit to the infliction, and he commended the subject to the consideration of members.