Currently viewing the category: "Tiphiid Wasps"

Subject:  Colourful ant!
Geographic location of the bug:  Jindivick, Australia
Date: 12/05/2018
Time: 08:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have found a few very colourful ants in my vegetable garden recently, and was wondering if you knew the species, it is approximately 1.3 cm long, has some red features across its body and is covered in a metalic green/blue shell, its abdomen sometimes charges like a scorpion tail, but has no visable stinger – please note that the ants in these photos have not been harmed, and the one in the glass has been promptly released after photographs were taken, as it was within my house
How you want your letter signed:  Ben, not into ants – but into this one

Blue Ant

Dear Ben,
Though it is commonly called a Blue Ant,
Diamma bicolor, this beautiful creature is actually a flightless, female Flower Wasp.  According to Oz Animals:  “Blue Ants are not ants at all but the wingless females of a species of Flower Wasp. The female is has a glossy blue green body with reddish legs. They move across the ground with a rapid restless motion with abdomen raised above the ground. The winged male and is slender and much smaller with more typical wasp appearance. Males have black with white spots on the abdomen. The female wasps paralyse mole crickets as food for their larvae. The female wasp can give a painful sting if disturbed, but they are not commonly encountered by people.”

Blue Ant

Subject:  Wasp? Greenish blackish? Group.
Geographic location of the bug:  Panhandle, Florida
Date: 07/24/2018
Time: 09:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Apologies for keeping it brief. These wasps have made on home on an old cloths hanger dangling from the frame of my back yard porch. They appear harmless. Non- aggressive. But also without a home?  For the two to threee weeks then have taken up residence, as seen from the photo.
What are they?
How you want your letter signed:  Fan of the Bug

Bachelor Party

Dear Fan of the Bug,
You have nothing to fear from these male wasps as they cannot sting.  They are roosting together at night, an activity performed by some species of Wasps and Solitary Bees that is commonly called a bachelor party because there are only males that participate.  We will attempt a more specific identification for you, but we believe they may be from the family Tiphiidae.

Male Wasps have a Bachelor Party

Subject:  Some Type of Wasp
Geographic location of the bug:  Berrima NSW Australia
Date: 12/10/2017
Time: 02:11 AM EDT
Hi, I found a group of these bugs all collected together on some moss. And though I have looked everywhere I cannot identify. I have included a photo of how i originally found them and then one separated. Could you please help me? Thank you so much.
How you want your letter signed:  Celia

Male Flower Wasp

Dear Celia,
We believe this is a male Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae, and the aggregation is a common behavioral activity that male Flower Wasps and certain other solitary Hymenopterans engage in, and it is commonly called a bachelor party.  Male Flower Wasps often congregate in large numbers and “roost” on plants as evening approaches.  You may read more about Australian Flower Wasps on the Brisbane Insect site.

Bachelor Party of Flower Wasps

Subject: Flower wasp female
Location: Fremantle, WA
August 15, 2016 6:53 pm
G’day bugman
Thought I’d share this picture of what a friend has helped me identify as a female flower wasp (confirmed from your website). I saw her on the wall of my house in Fremantle, WA.
I haven’t found another image on the net of one with quite the same bright golden colour.
Signature: Hugh

Female Flower Wasp

Female Flower Wasp

Dear Hugh,
Wow, what an awesome image.  We located a four year old posting on our site of a similar looking, but not exact match visually, female Flower Wasp in our archive, and we are going to do some fresh research to try to determine the identity of your particular species.  We located a pretty good visual match on Ant Blog, and the following information is provided:  “This particular specimen is a female Thynnine wasp. All female species of the subfamily Thynninae are wingless and can often be seen scaling an elevated structure like a flower or a tree (or in your case, a fence) in order to catch the attention of a passing male. Unlike females, Tiphiid males do have wings and will literally sweep the receptive female off her feet for an extended in-flight mating ritual that also involves treating the female to several easy meals along the way (flower nectar being much more accessible from the air).  Winglessness in female tiphiid wasps finally proves useful when, after mating, the gravid female must burrow underground to find a suitable repository for her eggs, namely scarab beetle larvae. Interestingly, winglessness or brachyptery (reduced wings) in wasps often goes hand in hand with this kind of parasitism and occurs in at least eight other wasp families. This frequently leads to confusion with ants.”  An even closer visual match is on Esperance Wildlife where it is identified as being in the genus
Hemithynnus and this information is provided:  “Wasps in the Tiphiidae family are generally known as Flower Wasps as the adults feed on the nectar of various flowers. It is a large family that is represented in Australia by 3 sub-families, two of which both the male and female wasps have wings, but in the third Thynninae, the female is wingless and is carried about or otherwise feed by the much larger winged male.  The male thynnine wasps are attracted to the females when she releases a pheromone to indicate she is ready to mate. It is interesting to note that many plants, particularly orchids mimic this pheromone to attract the male wasp, who inadvertently pollinates them when they grasp the labellum, which they think is the female. However most of these wasps would be much smaller than this species (probably a Hemithynnus sp.) that is over 3 cm (11/4”) in length (excluding antennae), so a little large for most orchid flowers. The wingless female above (which may not be the same species) is about a third the size of the male.  These wasps are parasitic on the larvae of burrowing scarab beetles, whereby after mating the wingless female digs into the soil to locate them and will then lay at least one egg on each. They must encounter a number, as they are reasonably common in the Esperance (near coastal) sandy heath from November to January. “

Awesome, thas for the info. Very interesting. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not a scarab beetle larva!
Love your site by the way.

Subject:  Male Flower Wasp
Location: Oldbury Western Australia
January 31, 2015
Meanwhile I have a couple of pics of an identified wasp for your collection, that I will attach to this mail if you are interested, as a thank you.  I see you have a pic of the female, but didn’t see one of the male.  This is a male flower wasp from the family Tiphiidae as identified by the Western Australian Museum.  I fished him out of my dog’s water bowl.
Best regards,

Male Flower Wasp

Male Flower Wasp

Dear Jill,
We have created a distinct posting for your male Flower Wasp images, and we are thrilled that you submitted them.  We do have one additional image of a male Flower Wasp in the family Tiphidae from Australia, and that individual is from Wollongong.  Because of your kindness fishing this harmless creature from your dog’s water bowl, we are tagging the posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award

Flower Wasp

Flower Wasp

Thanks for the most honourable award Daniel.  Of course I love nature, so am actually a great crusader for saving creatures of all description.  The warm happy feeling I get from saving a life, no matter how inconsequential to some people, is reward enough. : )
I was really impressed with my son the other day, who had a huntsman spider run across his chest.. this scared the crap out of him (and no doubt also the spider), but rather than bang her on the head, he found a mop and coaxed her on board and took her outside to live out her days.  I was very happy that I probably have influenced his kindness and understanding of nature. : )
I will stick to one bug at a time in submission in future as requested.
Thanks again for everything.  You have a wonderful website.
Best regards,

Subject: Unknown bug ….to me!
Location: See letter above:  Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
November 30, 2013 10:54 pm
Hi, my name is Annie. On November 28, 2013 , at 3.50 pm, I noticed this bug on my plant. I have never seen it before and some research work came up with nothing similar at all. I posted a photo on Instagram in the hope someone could tell me, but so far no one does, even though several people have joint me in the research, lol! The back part of its body is bright yellow and black, and it appears to have some water blisters on it’s back., not rain drops as it was a dry and sunny day. The front part of its body is a reddish-dark brown and shiny, it has hairs all over its legs and upper body, and it reared up as in self-defence when I came closer. This bug was found in my garden in Tootgarook on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia . The photo I included is taken with a zoom lens, and is pretty much enlarged to its full capacity. Hope it is still good enough for you to identify this bug, lol! Thank you so much for your willingness to look into this kind of things, it is quite fascinating to get to know bugs better!
Kind regards: Annie.
Signature: Annie J Den Boer

Flightless Female Flower Wasp:  Thynnus species

Flightless Female Flower Wasp: Thynnus species

Dear Annie,
We have several similar images in our archives very similar to this creature, and in 2010, we did significant research and we thought we had identified a photo as a Flightless Female Flower Wasp,
Thynnus apterus.  We are not entirely certain the species is correct, but we are relatively confident with the genus.  Today we found a photo of a mounted pair of Thynnus brenchleyi on the Agriculture of Western Australia website that confirms the genus, if not the species.  There is no female Thynnus apterus pictured on Agriculture of Western Australia.

Dear Daniel.
Thank you so very much for this quick reply! I think the two compare well, although I have to admit that the one I photographed has more and also brighter yellow on the top of its back, but that could possibly have to do with age and/or variety, and quality of the photo!
I am very happy to be able to let this student in America know and tell him your website and the one of Agriculture of Western Australia, so he can have a look for himself.
Again, thank you so very much for your help, it is much appreciated,
With kind regards: Annie j Den Boer.