Animal Species:Blue Ant

The Blue Ant is not an ant but a species of flower wasp from the family Tiphiidae.

Blue Ant, Diamma bicolor

Andrew Donnelly © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Blue Ant

Identification

The wingless, ground-dwelling female Blue Ants are bright metallic blue or green, and can sometimes be mistaken for a large ant. However they are a solitary wasp species, with fully winged males, and can often be found on flowers.

Size range

2.5 cm

Distribution

The Blue Ant is found throughout Australia.

Habitat

The Blue Ant is found in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Feeding and Diet

When the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the paralysed insects. Adult Blue Ants feed mainly on nectar.

Life cycle

The female Blue Ant makes a burrow for her eggs and hunts for beetle larvae and other ground dwelling insects, such as mole crickets. She paralyses these with her sting, and lays her eggs on them.

Mating and reproduction

Many species of flower wasps have wingless females, including the Blue Ant. In these species, mating occurs on the wing, with the male wasps carrying the female wasps.

Danger to humans and first aid

Female Blue Ants are capable of stinging if disturbed. As they are solitary insects, Blue Ants do not pose the same level of threat to humans as social species of bees, ants or wasps do. However, unlike bees, wasps can sting more than once, and do not die after stinging. The sting causes a burning pain and swelling. If stings are multiple, a more severe systemic reaction may occur.

In some individuals, wasp, bee and ant stings can cause an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), but this is relatively uncommon. Effective treatment is available, which involves known bee/ant/wasp sting allergy sufferers carrying a special kit when outdoors. Immunotherapy or desensitisation is also available, and can reduce the severity of the allergy.

A cold pack may be used to relieve the pain of the sting. If there is evidence of a more severe reaction or the sting victim is known to be allergic to wasp and bee venom, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Classification

Species:
bicolor
Genus:
Diamma
Family:
Tiphiidae
Superfamily:
Vespoidea
Suborder:
Apocrita
Order:
Hymenoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  • AGFACTS Information Leaflets
  • CSIRO. 1994. Insects of Australia. Canberra.
  • Goode, J. 1980. Insects of Australia. Angus & Robertson, London
  • Hadlington, P. and J. Johnston. 1982. An Introduction to Australian Insects. UNSW Press, Sydney
  • Zbrowski, P. and R. Storey. 1995. A Field Guide to Insects in Australia. Reed Books, Sydney

 


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Tags wasps, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney, bites, stings, dangerous, stinging,