Ant or Wasp?
I found this wasp or maybe ant in my driveway this morning when I went to take the trash out. I also saw a second one trying to right itself out of a small puddle on our walkway. I’m in central Mexico, in San Miguel de Allende, and we’ve had a bit of rain the last few days, including last night. This creature is about 1 1/2″ – 2″ in length with fuzzy thorax, and the rear section is very bulbous with shiny dark brown stripped sections. The overall color is kind of a reddish brown. The antennae are straight so it doesn’t quite look like a tarantula hawk. And while it looks like a wasp there doesn’t seem to be a stinger. So I’m uncertain as to whether this is a wasp or an ant. It also was originally upside down and I picked it up by the wing to put it right. Doesn’t appear to be aggressive. There are pinchers on the mouthparts. A look on your wasp pages and ant pages left me clueless as did a search on bug guide since I wasn’t too sure exactly what specifically to look for. Hoping you can shed some light on this.
Thanks in advance,
We saw these same enormous Flying Ants many years ago in Chiatla, Puebla, Mexico. There was an incredible swarm after a rain. We don’t know the species but we will do some research.
Mexican flying Ant
Hello Daniel and Lisa Anne,
I am in love with your site, and visit it daily. The flying ant is from the genus Atta, the leaf-cutting ants. In fact she is an alate, a winged Queen. These insects are known as “Hormigas Culonas” (‘big-bottom ants,’ in reference to their quite substantial abdomens) in Colombia, where they are so esteemed as a delicacy that they appear to be in danger of overharvesting. I’ve eaten them — though, alas, not fresh from the source — and can report a taste like bacon and pistachio nut combined. Edible insects are my passion, and I’ve been thinking about sending you a couple of images. If you’d be willing to include a link to my site, that would be fantastic.
All the best,
Update: (07/25/2006) Edible Mexican Queen: Leaf Cutting Ant
Hi, great site! Regarding the Edible Mexican Queen, having lived in Chiapas I can tell you that the local name for this is “nuc