Thats’ one helluva latin name to carry around! Some years ago we first came across this little beastie, & we were in awe of it’s predatory skills. We were down by the Tukituki river, when a flash of movement caught our attention. At first we thought we’d seen a weta, but on closer inspection discovered it was some sort of wasp.

A very large spider appeared & crept very stealthily across the log we were watching, & disappeared behind it. The wasp was at attention & ranged about, like a bloodhound, when it caught the track of the spider, it followed its route over the log, there followed a cat & mouse like chase, where the spider was very much the mouse. Eventually the spider took off, & disappeared. We came home to look up about wasps.

This weekend we were out at the beach, & spotted another Golden Hunting Wasp on an old water tank, the photo is not great, there is a good picture in  the Reed Handbook of Common N.Z. Insects, by Annette Walker, but I am nervous to put it in , in case I am infringing copyright.

Golden Hunting wasp Sphictostethus nitidus

There is a group of wasps, known as the Spider Wasps, we have nearly a dozen in N.Z. ten of which are unique to out isles. The Mason Bee must be related to this family I imagine. The hapless spider, gets a dose of it’s own treatment, being stung & paralysed, then it is dragged or flown off to an already excavated burrow, where it is  buried, with an egg laid on it. When the egg hatches, the larva has fresh food to hand, a bit gross really, but kind of fascinating too.