Whilst the Goomburra Outing was reported in the last Newsletter, this is a Post Script on an identification that has until now eluded us. After Lunch that day, we walked the track to the Castle Lookout, and there, several members saw, and photographed from every conceivable angle, what appeared to be a very large ant, of an indeterminate species, strutting its stuff on the timber-work. Many photos were taken by many members, who consulted many books, and sent each other many emails in an endeavour to establish just what we had seen. For those who were not there, or who may have forgotten what this insect looked like, please see the photo. As our Group Knowledge seemed to have failed us on this occasion, I sent an email to the Discovery Centre at the Queensland Museum, seeking guidance. I might mention that I have used their considerable expertise for several identifications in the past, with excellent results, and this was no exception. I quote from their reply:
The ant is in fact a female flower wasp, Family Tiphiidae, Subfamily Thynninae, but identification beyond the subfamily is not possible from a photograph and would be extremely difficult even with a specimen. The wasps in this subfamily have fully winged males and wingless females and the males usually carry the females along while they mate (phoretic copulation).
So, there we have it. It was not an ant, but a wingless wasp, the precise identification of which is unknown, but as far as I am concerned, that is unimportant in this instance. My thanks to all those who took part in the discussions and correspondence, and to the Entomologists at the Queensland Museum for their detailed description.
(Report and photo by Mike Ford)