Now for the good stuff! Sure New Zealand scenery is stunning, but we’re clearly here for the bugs.
Here’s a selection of the arthropods we found across our December 2018 Stewart Island/Southland trip.
First up, here’s an assortment of male Pantopsalis phocator. Most NZ harvestmen (well…all NZ harvestmen) have no common name. This one I’ve been affectionately calling “sunset harvestmen” because of the incredible colors that occur. The gradient of silver, orange, red, and yellows reminds me of a sunset or sunrise. These guys were found on Stewart Island as well as on the mainland in the Otago area.
We also found a Forsteropsalis species on Stewart Island, that appears to be Forsteropsalis chiltoni (note that this family of harvestmen is currently under taxonomic revision using molecular sequencing with collaborators). This species is a stunning red color and I was impressed to find this large specimen eating an equally-large freshly-killed crane fly (Tipulidae).
To Morgane’s delight, we also found stick insects on Stewart Island. These were Acanthoxyla sp. Stick insects will sometimes regurgitate to avoid predators. This female almost looks as though she is blowing a bubble of chewing gum. Her food source must make this regurgitation a pink color as most regurgitate brown or green.
Here’s a variety of other arthropods we encountered during the day and night on Stewart Island.