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April 4, 2015

DSCN0481Continuing the wasp theme, this striking blue-winged wasp was photographed just before disappearing underground in our vegetable patch. It’s a native Black Flower Wasp (Austroscolia soror), belonging to the family Scoliidae. It is a parasitoid and burrows with its strong legs into soil, or compost heaps, looking for scarab beetle larvae. It paralyses the larva with its sting and lays an egg in it. Upon hatching the young wasp has a ready food source to munch on.

Black Flower Wasps are usually solitary. They are large (about 3cm long) and hairy, but they are not aggressive, although females can sting in defence. Adults feed on flower nectar.


Another solitary parasitoid non-aggressive wasp caught our eye recently – this one we think was an ichneumon wasp from the family Ichneumonidae. There are something like 1500 species in Australia in this family, only about a quarter of which have been described. We’re not sure which species this is, and what species it parasitises. Any suggestions welcome.

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