What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Members of the Thynninae are often called 'flower wasps' because the males are commonly seen feeding at flowers, sometimes with the smaller wingless females attached to their posterior abdomen in copulation. Males of some species are also involved in orchid pollination where males are attracted to flowers that mimic wasp sex pheromones. Ground-dwelling females are commonly collected in pitfall traps. Tiphiids are generally reported to be ectoparasitic on subterranean coleopteran (beetle) larvae, but very few host records are available. At least one species has a different host biology: the metallic blue Diamma bicolor (blue ant) is known to parasitise mole crickets (Orthoptera).


Tiphiids vary in size from 3–  35+ mm, sometimes resemble ichneumonids, and can be recognised by the inner margin of eyes not strongly emarginate; pronotum with a substantial dorsal surface reaching to the tegula; prodopeum not tripartite (not divided into three areas); and outer fore wing without pseudovenation. The vast majority of the Australian fauna (Thynninae and Diamminae) are highl y sexually dimorphic, the males being fully winged and the females wingless, smaller, and ant-like in appearance.


Unlike faunas of other regions of the world, the Australian tephiid fauna is dominated by a single subfamily, the Thynninae, which has more than 600 described species and is restricted largely to Australia and South America. Of the other six subfamilies, two are absent from the Australasian region; Diamminae is endemic to Australia and is represented by a single small genus, Diamma ; the Tiphiinae and Myzininae which are moderately diverse elsewhere, are represented in Australia by only 3–  5 species combined; and Anthobosca (Anthoboscinae) has around 30 species in Australia. The family is absent from New Zealand.

Further information about the Tiphiidae can be found in Brothers & Finnamore 1993, Kimsey 1991, Kimsey 1995 and Naumann 1991.

  • Thynninae sp.

  • Anthoboscinae sp.

  • Diamma bicolor

  • Tiphiid (flower wasp, male 16mm)

  • Tiphiidae sp.

  • Tiphiidae sp.

  • Tiphidae sp, mating (female is wingless)

  • Thynnus sp

  • Zaspilothynnus sp, mating (female is wingless)