Whopper Hopper

Today, at long last, I went up to Porters Pass. I have been wanting to go all summer, but the weather was against it, or the road was too busy, or I had other stuff to do. The main reason was to see if the coral broom flowered and the hairy bees that are nowhere else but the Southern Alps. There was little evidence of broom flowers, and the ground was too damp for the bees’ burrows.

However, there was plenty to look at. This grasshopper is a southern tussock grasshopper, native to this area. He’s a big chap, about 25 to 30mms body length. There were many sizes, even 5mm babies. There were also other species that were not so colourful.

In extras I have added a bright clock cicada, so called because it makes the sound of a large, not very regular clock. Also there are 4 spiders, all different. The green and black one is a Colaranea. The second one might be too. The hairy heads and stripy legs on the others suggest they  might belong to the Novaranea species of native orb web spiders. The smaller one I think is a male. There is so much variation among these species it is difficult to ID them from photos.

This sub-alpine area has had a lot of rain. I have never seen it so green. The ground was firm, instead of the dry loose shale that makes climbing hazardous for me. There were many flowers, white gentians and the tiny harebells to name a couple.

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