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Two metres up and feedin’ fine

April 1, 2020

Last month a blog featured an insect known as a Blue Ant (Diamma bicolor). It is a species of Flower Wasp so called because like most female flower wasps it is wingless and it is metallic blue in colour i.e. it looks like a blue ant. Flower Wasps are known for their sexual dimorphism. The male is generally much larger than the female. The male is also winged. Adult wasps are nectar feeders. To feed, the female mates with the male wasp who flies off and carries the female into the higher reaches of a plant where it can feed and mate at the same time. In the case of the Blue Ant the female is much larger than the male and the recent blog questioned how the female wasp gets up to the flowers given the male wasp physically is not big enough to fly her to a food source.

During a bird survey of a neighbour’s property I came across a Silver Banksia (Banksia marginata) in bloom. The flowers were swarming with pollinators. Lo and behold frantically dipping into the Banksia flowers with all the other bees, flies and beetles was a female Blue Ant (pictured). Although I did not see how it got there I assume it climbed the tree. The flowers were at least 2 m above the ground.

When last seen the Blue Ant had tangled with a Honey Bee and both had plummeted earthwards. I guess it has to climb back up.

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