Readers’ wildlife photos

April 3, 2023 • 8:15 am

Tony Eales is slowly learning the fauna of his new area in Oz.  Here we get some lovely photos of ants and other insects. Tony’s narrative and IDs are indented, and you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Having moved to a new area, I don’t really have a handle on where all the cool stuff lives and hides. But if you’re out and about, camera in hand, looking for insects to bother, hymenopterans will never let you down.

There’s always some ants and wasps around and bees and sawflies are by no means rare.

For one thing, the ants down here are big, banded sugar ants (Camponotus consobrinus) are very common in the urban setting here and have very large major workers but on the weekend, I found Camponotus intrepidus, the Giant Sugar Ant which is a gorgeous ant. I love Camponotus as they’re non-aggressive and stingless.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Myrmecia species. I recently found a queen of M. pyriformis. One of the world’s largest ants and Guinness Book of Records’ most dangerous ant.

Also, I came across a few nests of ants from the confusing Mymecia pilosa species complex. They were very feisty near the next, showing me why they are called “Jumping Jacks”. It was enough for me to only photograph individuals isolated away from the nest rather than set off a large scale defensive attack.

The other animal that really scares me now that I’ve moved from subtropical to temperate Australia is actually not an Australian insect. It’s the European Wasp (Vespula germanica). Not only do these pests create large nests and crawl into cans of sugary drink but they are also an environmental disaster.

Much nicer are the solitary wasps like this completely harmless male velvet ant, family Mutilidae, probably Odontomyrme sp.

And even though things are getting cool and the flowers of a few months ago are all ending, there were many of these flower wasps in the subfamily Thynninae. This is a male and female mating pair. The male carries the small wingless female around for hours while joined in this way.

I also found this Scoliidae wasp, probably genus Austroscolia. These are fairly large and common and often noticed in large mating balls where dozens of males like this one fight one another for a chance to mate with an unfortunate female at the centre of the ball. Both the Scoliid wasps and the Thynnids are parasitoids of scarab beetle larvae but Scoliids don’t have the same extreme sexual dimorphism as the Thynnoids.


Rounding out the Hymenopterans, I’ve been pleased to find many native bee species including these cute little masked bees, Hylaeus littleri.

And this unusual looking male sawfly, Pseudoperga guerinii.

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. Good to know. However, I remain a bit trepidatius about blundering across a nest. It’s fear borne of unfamiliarity

  1. Amazing photos, glad you’re sharing these arthropods from your new turf. That jumping jack ant photo was exquisite. Right out of a movie of attacking ants and the spiky plant added to the drama.

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