This large wasp came flying around the corner like a helicopter and landed on the bank beside me. It was large and beautifully coloured, with toffee-brown legs and antennae and a black head and body. It was remarkably purposeful as it moved through the leaf litter searching for something. What, I only found out later, when I decided that this had to be a pompilid wasp. The Pompilidae are spider hunters. They are solitary, indeed some are so solitary that they do not need a mate, What species this is I don’t know, and what type of spider she hunts for I don’t know either. It would be really interesting to find out. I will go back to this site (on a track in Doi Sutep-Pui National Park and see if I can find another one; or maybe the same one again (I wonder how long they live for?). Anyway, it was amazing to see her, and to think about her flying along and hunting thought the forests of Thailand to find a kill spiders to feed her daughters. I would love to see her find and kill a spider (sorry spider!) and then fly off with it, to bury it somewhere, after laying and egg on it, for her offspring to hatch out and feed on the paralyzed victim. I felt the energy and life force of this creature in my brief encounter with it, and glimpsed another world.
I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.