I seem to have been finding a series of interesting insect this year, or is it just that I have become more curious as to what they were?
This time, it was a wasp on my nature strip, apparently hunting amongst the litter underneath a Podolepis bush (Daisy species). I managed a couple of photos, with difficulty, as it was so active, and I had to get close because of its size.
I chose the best, blew them up as much as I could, then started searching on the Internet. At first, I looked for images of native bees (have you ever used Google Advanced Image Search?), but it was obviously none of them, so I started on native wasps and got several that were similar, but not quite the same. I sent the image to the Museum, and received the following reply:
Congatulations – your identification is indeed correct. This is a Mason or Potter wasp. It is Australozethus tasmaniensis. These wasps build a nest from mud, and then they paralyse insects or spiders, which they place inside the mud nest for their larvae to eat and grow.”
I then checked the Atlas Of Living Australia website (www.ala.org.au), which is a huge database of official records of all species in Australia, derived from museum and herbarium collections, biological surveys and citizen records. There were only six records of my wasp for the whole of Australia, so I added mine and now there are seven. This is the first record from our district.
Another useful website is Bowerbird. (www.bowerbird.org.au). If you find something interesting, you can get an identification, and then it is automatically added to ALA. Happy exploring!