Bluebottle Ant Facts and Information
- Without a doubt, the most noteworthy fact about the Bluebottle Ant remains the confusion over their name. That confusion happens because this bi-colored insect actually represents a type of parasitic wasp. Many varieties of flower wasps have a wingless gender, and this holds true for them as well.
- Not incidentally, they have only a moderate habitat range. Like many other insects, this makes them vulnerable to habitat loss and climate change. Yet their numbers appear to be stable for the moment. Therefore, the IUCN does not currently list them on the Red List of Threatened Species.
- While they have the ability to sting, their venom does not normally pose a danger to humans, though a strong burning sensation usually accompanies stings. Yet they remain capable of multiple stings if irritated, and these can occasionally cause an allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Bluebottle Ant Physical Description
The beautiful yet deceptively named Bluebottle Ant often gets mistaken for a large ant.
Sexual dimorphism also appears in this wasp, with the females being larger than the males. Females average a body length of 1 in (2.5 cm), while the smaller males only average 0.5 in (1.25 cm) in length.
However, size alone does not separate the genders in this invertebrate. While smaller, the males possess wings, and spend much of their time on flowers, while females remain grounded.
Yet their coloring remains their most distinctive feature. First of all, the bodies of both genders display either a bright metallic green or bluish color. In addition, their legs typically display a bright red.
Species: D. bicolor
Bluebottle Ant Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The distinctively colored Bluebottle Ant remains solely endemic to portions of south and southeast Australia. This range includes New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria. Notably, they primarily inhabit regions of forests, woodlands, and even urban areas.
Mating occurs in the air, while the smaller winged male carries the larger female. After mating, the female excavates a burrow for the eggs and hunts for ground dwelling insects. These she paralyzes with her sting and leaves as food for the larva.
While the larva of this invertebrate feeds on the paralyzed insects left by the mother, the adults mainly feed on nectar. Due to this, they play a significant role in pollination in their region.