New Zealand has two species of introduced wasps in the family Vespidae: the German wasp (Vespula germanica) and the more recently-arrived Common wasp (V. vulgaris). Most of the vespid wasps I see around here — at least those I can get close enough to to identify — are Common wasps (here's a photograph from a couple of weeks ago). I photographed this one yesterday low down on the No. 1 Line track. I'm not sure what it was doing. At first I thought it was collecting chewed-up wood for its nest, but this proved wrong. Nor did it seem to be foraging, although it was moving around a little and not just sitting there, resting.
Being on the trunk of a small tree, it offered me a fairly rare chance to get a good angle on its face. That anchor-shaped black mark between the antennae and jaws is one of the diagnostic features that distinguish it from the otherwise very similar German wasp.
[5 April 2014, Olympus OM-D EM-1, 60mm f/2.8 macro , ISO 200, 1/200 at f/8; diffused flash]
All content © 2014 Pete McGregor