This is the male of the 'Blue ant' or Bluebottle we all knew as kids - a large, wingless female wasp in metallic electric blue with red legs.
Although not often seen there were several found on this day.
A large and intimidating wasp with dramatic colours which targets large spiders as prey. This one was rummaging around in Ghania (swordgrass) and refused to give me a good view of it's abdomen. I believe the abdomen can vary somewhat with the amount of black or orange banding.
This 12mm long wasp was working in a fresh tree hole (E ironbark) coming and going every 60 seconds. I blocked the hole for a minute to get some shots when she returned. Similar to other Paralastor but the main abdominal band has a distinct notch.
A 20 mm black wasp with striking thin white markings on thorax and abdomen. Head and legs showed diffuse white patches. Legs showed short spikes and appeared unusually long and were held spread out around the body like a spider.
Spotted making a burrow in soil beside a walking track.
This wasp was about 20 mm long with yellow markings on thorax and head. Scutellum was yellow as were parts of the legs. The abdomen was an amber colour and slightly dorso-ventrally flattened. Wings were clear.
My thanks to Tony D for identifying the genus and for the following information "Beautiful wasp! Features of note for Labium are the large hind claws, ovipositor just barely projecting in females (as seen here), antennae more or less semi-clavate, and head longish below eyes (shown in third pic)."
Looking like a 5 mm piece of bird-dropping, this little black and white capsule is a cocoon of an ichneumon wasp. It was attached to the leaves on this young tree and wrapped around it was the skin of its larval host - a lepidopteran. Mimicking bird-dropping and wrapping the skin of the larval host over and around is, apparently, one of the many strategies employed by ichneumonids to escape attacks from hyperparasitoids. Spotted on a young black wattle (Acacia mearnsii) in a nature reserve.
This small wasp ( a case-moth larvae parasite wasp) was about 10 mm long and very active. The narrow abdomen had thin white bands and a moderate size ovipositor. Head, antennae and thorax were black. The hind legs had black and white markings while the other legs were a pale yellow.
Spotted actively searching low plants (in this case the bumblebee weed) in a riparian area.
Very often we find eucalyptus leaves that have been delaminated and puffed into a 'pillow' with a large internal void. This tiny wasp might be part of the story. It was at a rough opening on this puffed leaf and seems to be extricating itself from a skin just inside the hole. About 6mm long with distinctive black pterostigma and a longish flexed abdomen.. It turns out that this is a type of sawfly. Black over the thorax should be Phylacteophaga froggatti (male)
A tree laden with pendulose galls over more than 75% of its leaves. These are produced by a small scale insect (hemipteran). A busy wasp was taking full advantage by laying eggs into the deep gall chambers.
Silky Hairstreak caterpillars with attendant ants.
On a broad leafed wattle these small, black caterpillars were apparently be lovingly looked after by groups of grey and black ants. The caterpillars were about 15mm long. I could not see what the ants were getting from the caterpillar but they seemed to be regularly checking the rear end.
In a local nature reserve adjoining a large national park both dominated by various eucalyptus species.
"Occurring mainly in the Dandenong Ranges where it breeds on wattles (Acacia sp.). An early spring species whose larvae feed on Blackwood (A. melanoxylon) and Silver Wattle (A. dealbata). The larvae are attended by the strong smelling ant, Anonychomyrma biconvexa. Pupation usually occurs under the bark of nearby eucalypts. " - Museum Victoria
Conservation status HIGHLY VULNERABLE
This strange little wasp was drowning in a tank of rainwater. After scooping it out it gradually came back into action on a paper towel and turned out to be an unusual type.
About 15mm long overall. An unusual sectioned, tapered abdomen which seemed very flexible.
Suburban back yard. Very cold damp conditions.
A unusual wasp family with only one genus with only 3 species in Australia. Monomachus antipodalis is the only species found in Victoria.
A fascinating, two-toned ichneumon wasp about 30mm long overall with a large, gasteruptid-style abdomen which was regularly pumping up and down. Nice blue eyes.
On a wall at night at the local school. Attracted by strong lights.