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Short Notes on Nature Singapore

9 July 2017 | Scoliid Wasp | Family: Scoliidae | [Correction: Driver Ant / Dorylus laevigatus] |

photo When I first saw this orange coloured winged insect crawling on the floor of my kitchen in February, I thought it was a kind of winged ant and a relatively large one. The length was about 2 centimetres. photo After several failed attempts to identify it, I left the mystery behind just like the rest of the many unsolved mysteries of nature encounters and life goes on.

This Monday, when I was feeding the fishes in my mini-aquarium, I was surprised to find another of this winged insect floating on the water. It happened to be a dead specimen this time round. I lifted its body out of the water for closer examination. Even after the second encounter, it still did not occur to me that it might be a wasp. I continued to lookout for its identity related to ants seen around my house and in the nearby park. Nothing seemed to make a connection until I looked at its eyes, which were much larger than a typical ant. However, its overall features tell me it had to be an insect related to ants, a member of the Order Hymenoptera.

Based on its long abdomen, it was likely to be a scoliid wasp, a member of the family Scoliidae. I had no idea on its genus yet. A 2015 article mentioned 3 genus of scoliid wasps found in Singapore, namely Campsomeris, Scolia and Megascolia but none of their pictures match this orange wasp. According to the article, these wasps prey on larvae of scarab beetles and their presence might be an indicator of the abundance of such beetles in a given area. As I just saw a green scarab beetle recently at my balcony area, the presence of this wasp should not come across as a surprising find

Over the years, I had captured the pictures of 4 species of scoliid wasps that cross my path. This orange wasp was the 5th one. More pictures of them are available in my wasp pictorial page.

photo photo photo photo

Hope I will be able to resolve its identity mystery one day.

Update: 14 July 2017

First of all, I wanted to credit Yap Ming Yang for identification of this male winged ant as Dorylus laevigatus (Driver Ant). So, my initial suspicion of a winged ant was indeed correct.

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