aussietrev Black Velvet Ant
February 16, 2010
Congratulations on being near the end with the book project. It has been hot and very wet around this way and over the last couple of days I have come across several of these male wasps hunting around in the sandy soil. There has been some females too but they don’t like the camera getting close.
As an aside, I noticed the letter about the light and the funnel. One method of trapping insects is to bury a bottle with a funnel so that the lip of the funnel is at ground level. A light is suspended above it and ground dwellers walk to the light and fall into the funnel. Hope that sheds some light on it 🙂
Burnett region. Queensland. Australia
Welcome back. We have missed getting submissions from you. Your letter is a tad bit confusing. You talk about the male wasps hunting, and the females not letting the camera get close, yet you have submitted an image of a female. The female Velvet Ants are wingless and the males have wings. The Brisbane Insect website has photos posted that look very similar to your image, but alas, they have only identified it to the family level of Mutillidae. Another page on the Brisbane Insect website indicates that most species in Australia are in the genus Ephutomorpha, but that same page labels some wingless individuals as being male. The What Bug Is That? guide to Australian insects has a nice description of Velvet Ants.