Threaten Sign    


Wasps Mimicry

Wasps - the mimic model, watch carefully you can see its sting at the abdomen tip. 
Wasps have powerful defense mechanism - the painful sting. Wasp are generally not subject to predation. They are large in size and become the model of mimicry for large insects. 
For the wasps mimicry cases we found, beside the colours and body shapes are well resemble, all mimics behave much as the model. Despite the difference in visual acuity and cognitive abilities between human and the insect predators, it is interesting to note that insects predators are likely responsible for visual mimicry that is very accurate to human eyes. 
Followings are the examples that we found so far. 

Wasp-mimic Robber Fly - family Asilidae
In mid summer we found this Wasp Mimic Robber Fly hunting on the ground among the dry leaves in Mt Cotton bushland. At first we thought it was a wasp and put those pictures in our Vespid Wasps page. Rob Longair, University of Calgary, send us email and advised that "It is actually a robber fly (Diptera: Asilidae) mimic of a wasp. The antennae and the stance in the second picture are typical of robber flies." Here we would like to thank Rob again. 
Wasp-mimicking Mydas Fly  - family Mydidae
When taking those photos, we thought this flying insect was a Large Potter Wasp or Spider Wasp, although we had a little wonder. This "wasp" was not behaving like a wasp. A normal wasp usually flies away if we come close within one meter. This "wasp" just kept on what it was doing. It seemed very interested at the large dead tree trunk. It flied around and landed on different spots of the tree trunk. We came back home and looked at those photos, the insect looked like a rubber fly. But its antenna was 4-segmented and too long for a robber fly. We check further and found out it was a Mydas Fly. Check this page for more information.

Wasp-mimicking Longicorn Beetle
wpe1A.jpg (24700 bytes) 
This Longicorn Beetle mimics a wasp to gain protection. To mimic a wasp, it has the very short elytra, or wing cover. There are the orange-yellow bands on its abdomen. On its 1st and 2nd abdomen segment there are the yellow edges to make it has the narrow- waisted look. Besides its colours and body shape, the beetle moves like a wasp too. When we came close to the beetle, the beetle put up different wasp-like postures and movement to convince us that it was a wasp. After a few try and failed to scare us, the beetle flied away. More pictures and information please click here

Another Wasp-mimicking Longicorn Beetle
wpe1E.jpg (31766 bytes)  wpe21.jpg (28819 bytes)
This beetle is also known as Tiger Longicorn Beetle. Its forewings are bright orange-brown in colour with black pattern. Those pattern mimic the abdomen and 'waist' of a wasp. Besides they look like a wasp, they move like a wasp too. Even we have seen this beetle a few times, when taking the above first picture, we think it was a wasp moving on leaf searching for caterpillars. More information and pictures on this page.

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Last updated: October 10, 2009.