Today we went for a walk up at the top of Brooklyn Hill in Wellington, in Te Kopahou Reserve.
It was more of a stroll really, as 4 adults walked 3 dogs along a private road (open to foot traffic and cyclists). See my Run Spot Run review, with photos at Te Kopahou Reserve — wind turbine to radar station.
After an hour we turned around, and where the road ran parallel to the fence for Zealandia we switched to that track for the last part of the walk.
As we strolled past something caught my eye on the fence, so I took a closer look. I was astonished to see it was a golden coloured insect crawling backwards up the fence dragging a huge spider after it. [I don’t care for spiders, so as far as I’m concerned, if it’s visible to the naked eye it qualifies as big, huge or enormous.]
Unfortunately I keep forgetting my iPhone 4S can do video, but I did think to capture a couple of still images.
At home I consulted my book about insects, to discover the golden insect was a Golden Hunting Wasp, Cryptocheilus australis, family Pompilidae.
Apparently these wasps arrived in New Zealand in around 1960 from Australia.
One of my Twitterpals, @TurtleBearNM, reckons the wasp is:
Very much like our NM state insect, Tarantula Hawk Wasp, Pepsis formosa.
I didn’t think to measure this wasp in any way but I suspect it was around 2 cm long.
Update: the folks at Zealandia were very helpful. I now think this wasp was in fact around 2 cm long, thanks to this info from Russ Drewry (and others):
the spacings on our fence are (old mesh 98% of the fence) Vertical (centre to centre right hand strand to next strand) 44mm, horizontal c to c 7mm; New mesh (much tighter weave) Vertical 15mm c to c and Horizontal 7mm.
Did I mention how huge the spider was?