Currently viewing the category: "Tiphiid Wasps"

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Woy woy, NSW. 2257 AUSTRALIA
October 4, 2012 7:08 am
I’m from Australia so I don’t know if you will be able to identify this ant looking thing
Was found crawling along wood in my friends dads backyard shed.
I’ve searched and searched and can’t find a thing about it!
Are you able to help?
Signature: Katie Wright

Flower Wasp

Hi Katie,
This is a flightless female Flower Wasp.

Half Ant, Half Caterpillar?

Flightless Female Flower Wasp

Half Ant, Half Caterpillar?
Location: Spoon Bay Lookout, NSW, Australia
December 28, 2010 5:07 am
Hello bugman!
I went to a lookout to take some photos (I love my photography) at a lookout over Spoon Bay near Forrester’s Beach in NSW. Behind me crawling on the wooden deck of the lookout was a very strange and unique insect, with the head, and upper body of a large ant, and the lower half appeared to be a spotted caterpillar abdomen. What I thought anyway. I happened, and was lucky enough, to have my macro lens with me to take a few shots.
I’ve never seen anything like it, would you be able to enlighten me with the title and description of this insect?
Signature: From Cassy

Flightless Female Flower Wasp

Dear Cassy,
We are quite excited to be able to post your excellent images.  In early November of this year, we posted an image of a Wasp from Wollongong that we identified as a male Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae, and during that search, we found a photo of a flightless female Flower Wasp tentatively identified as Thynnus apterus on Red Bubble.  That individual was photographed during the mating ritual at Emerald Beach, New South Wales.  In November 2009, we posted a photo from Tasmania that is very similar to your photo and that Eric Eaton identified as a flightless female Flower Wasp, possibly in the genus
Catocheilus.  So, while we are confident that this is a flightless female Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae, we are still not able to provide a conclusive identification.  Perhaps one of our readers can provide a reliable link with a conclusive identification for this marvelous flightless female Flower Wasp.

Flightless Female Flower Wasp

Unknown bug
Location: Deloraine Tasmania
November 21, 2010 9:28 pm
Hi there
I have this strange ant in my back yard its about an inch long and i only ever see one by itself
Signature: Anne Bailey

Blue Ant

Hi Anne,
Even though it is called a Blue Ant, this flightless female wasp is a Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae.  The Blue Ant is
Diamma bicolor, and we found wonderful information on Oz Animals.  Here is the text from Oz Animals:  “Identification  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.
Size  length: females 23mm, males 15mm
Food  Adults feed on nectar.
Breeding  Blue Ants are parasitic wasps and lay their eggs on mole crickets. The female wasp runs over the ground like an ant looking for a mole cricket to parasitise. She paralyses the mole crickets with a sting and lay an egg on it. When the egg hatches, the larva feeds on the cricket.
Range  Blue Ants are found in Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

What wasp is this?
Location: Wollongong
November 10, 2010 9:33 pm
We have wasps?? feeding on our tea trees in the garden. I have tried to identify this but the marking differ from the available resources.
Signature: Rob

Flower Wasp we believe

Dear Rob,
We spent a bit of time researching this and though we have not found a perfect match, we believe with some certainty that this is a Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae.  We started our search where we generally start with Australian insects, on the Brisbane Insect website.  There are some similarities to the images of the Yellow Flower Wasp in the genus
Agruimyia that is pictured on the Brisbane Insect website, but the markings are very different.  There is an unidentified Flower Wasp at the bottom of the family page on the Brisbane Insect Website, and the markings are totally different, but the body structure and wing veinage seem similar.  The What Bug is That? Australian website has a head on view of a Flower Wasp feeding on the blossoms of the tea tree that is probably the closest visual match we have found.  There is a photo of a mounted specimen of Thynnus zonatus on a Tasmanian government website that also bears a resemblance to your wasp, so we did a search on that genus and hit paydirt with a photo tentatively identified as Thynnus apterus on RedBubble.  Your wasp is nearly identical to the male wasp on RedBubble and photographer posted this comment:  “This is a wingless Female Flower Wasp but I’m actually not sure of this species. Brisbane Insects have a shot and speculate Catocheilus sp., (synonym: Hemithynnus sp.). But I’ve found something close on the WA Ag Dept ICDB Specimen Images that seems close to Thynnus apterus? If anyone knows let me know. (see accompanying shots) Now the story.
I was out in the middle of the day hope to find some nice reptiles or insects and was following an Owl Fly when I saw this lady come out of the sandy soil and climb up the nearest shrub. As she reached the top I heard a buzz past my ear and a yellow headed winged male landed on her (I moved away a bit at this stage having a healthy respect for “flying” wasps!!!). After a quick pash they were copulating and he flew off carrying the wingless female. From the time she emerged from the soil, set off her pheromones and was carried away on her honeymoon the whole episode to less than a minute and a half. Talk about a whirlwind romance with his child bride!!!!
”  The photos were taken at Emerald Beach in New South Wales, the same state as your city of Wollongong.  Most of the wasps in this group in Australia have wingless females and the winged males fly about with the females attached during the mating process. Just to create additional confusion, when we did an image search for Thynnus apterus, a nearly identical image of a mounted specimen identified as Agriomyia maculata (flower wasp) popped up from the entomology collection of an Australian museum.   After an hour, we thought this is enough research for now.  We are confident that you have a Flower Wasp in the family Tiphiidae, which may be either Thynnus apterus or Agriomyia maculata, or the two names may be synonymous for the same species.

Ed Note:  April 4, 2013
We returned from a holiday and found a slew of mail, including this correction with the explanation that the family has now been split because of DNA analysis.  DNA analysis is now revolutionizing entomology, and we are a bit sad that observations are now not enough for conclusive species identification.  “Dead and spread” to quote Julian Donahue now seems to be the only way we mere humans will ever know for sure if the taxonomy is correct until the next new revolution in attempting to understand the complexity of life on our planet is discovered.

Correction:  April 4, 2013
Hi Bugman,
It should read now Thynnidae.
Dr Graham Brown
Consultant Insect Taxonomist

Some sort of Hymenoptera from Tasmania, Aus.
October 31, 2009
On a recent trip to the apple isle (Tasmania) my girlfriend and I snapped this little beauty. I found it crawling around in the sand at the boundary between a beach and dry sclerophyll in Freycinet National park on the east coast. It looks terribly vicious but it didn’t seem to mind being picked up. This was in January which means mid summer in Australia. (although it doesn’t get real hot in Tasmania)
Hope that info is enough to narrow it down.
Thanks guys!
Jish from Newcastle
Freycinet national park, Tasmania, Australia

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Hi Jish,
We located some images on the Brisbane Insect Website of wingless female Flower Wasps in the family Tiphiidae, but the patters were nothing like your specimen.  We doubted our research, and requested assistance from Eric Eaton.  He quickly responded.  Seems we overlooked the image when we searched.

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

Wingless Flower Wasp from Tasmania

It is a wingless female wasp in the family Tiphiidae, possibly genus Catocheilus, as I found on the “Brisbane Insects” website.  Neat find, great image!

HUGE swarm of…
Mr. Bugman,
I was out about an hour before dusk photographing a dragonfly when I stirred up what I thought was a huge swarm of mosquitoes especially considering the hour. However upon closer inspection ( What possessed me to want to get CLOSER to such a large swarm…I don’t know) anyways, they appear to be some form of wasp. They behave just like mosquitoes though, in that, I couldn’t locate any central “nest” they were simply perched on all the branches and leaves of the plants, when stirred up it just looks like a dense swarm of mosquitoes. I’m not sure if the photo is clear enough to ID from but that’s as close as I could get without stirring them up. They are approximately 1/2″ to 3/4″ long. By the way, by a HUGE swarm, I mean they were collected on the plants like in the photo covering an area about 75ft by 10ft. I found these in Southeast Alabama, almost to the Florida Border. Thanks in advance,

Hi Clayton,
This is a aggregation of male Tiphiid Wasps, probably the Five Banded Tiphiid, Myzinum quinquecinctum. Over the years, we have received two other reports of this behavior with photos. The nonstinging male wasps form “bachelor parties” when bedding down for the night, though the reason is unclear.