Large black wasp type bug, with rather pretty wings
January 14, 2010
We have a tree in our garden that has just come into flower, and as we’ve only been here for 9 months, it’s the first time we’e seen this. Of course it’s covered in your normal run of the mill bee ( that usually drink at my bird bath, or drown if they fall or get pushed in), but I also noticed a bug I’ve never seen before. It’s about twice the length of a bee, and completely black, with oil like black wings. Oil, as in like oil mixed with water and how it swirls – they change colour depending on the light to having purple, gold and blue swirls on them. The photos I took show that it has what seems to be a small stinger on the end of its tail. As I’ve never seen this before, the only thing I know is that it likes the flowers on our tree, and moves quite quickly on the tree. I’m pretty sure it’s a wasp, just not sure which one. The pics I got were the best I could get, they moved on pretty quick, from one bunch of flowers, around the tree, then to another bunch. Not sure if this is a native to Australia or not, but they don’t look too friendly anyway, being all black. If anyone knows, thanks 🙂
Shepparton, Victoria, Australia
This is some species of Scoliid Wasp in the family Scoliidae, commonly called Flower Wasps. The adults feed upon nectar, and the female lays her eggs on Scarab Beetle Grubs similar to the White Grubs we just posted. Though we don’t like to base scientific identifications on Flickr pages, we found an image entitled a Black Flower Wasp, Discolia soror, on Flickr that looks like your wasp. A photo on the Botanic Gardens Trust government website supports that identification, so we are comfortable saying this is a Black Flower Wasp. According to BugGuide, Scoliid Wasps can be recognized because of their large size, dark coloration and hairy bodies. Csiro has a wonderful fact page, but alas, only a photo of a mounted specimen and we much prefer your excellent photos of a vibrant, living specimen. The site indicates: “Female black flower wasps can sting but rarely do, as they are not aggressive. It is not necessary to control them.”
Your photos are so lovely, we are posting all of them.