Definition of aweto in English:


Pronunciation /əˈwɛtəʊ/


(also aweta)
  • A caterpillar of a New Zealand porina moth (genus Wiseana, family Hepialidae) that has been infected by the parasitic fungus Ophiocordyceps robertsii, which mummifies the insect below a covering of soil or leaf litter before sending up a slender fruiting body; also called vegetable caterpillar. In later use also: a caterpillar of the same family parasitized by the fungus O. sinensis, found in the highlands of central Asia and used in traditional medicine.


Mid 19th century. From Maori āwhato, āwheto any of various large caterpillars, including those affected by the Ophiocordyceps fungus.