This strikingly beautiful insect is the Ruby-tailed Wasp (Chrysis ignita), a species of Cuckoo Wasp. The metallic greens, blues, bronzes, and violet hues become even more pronounced in the sunlight.The wasp is harmless and lacks any sting. To protect themselves they curl up into a tight ball and display their bright red abdomen.
Show offs of the natural world: Vibrant colours and striking looks of some of the planet's most colourful animals
A Thistledown Velvet Ant, also known as a Cow Killer, is seen in the Mojave Desert, California. It isn't really an ant, but a wingless female wasp. This photograph was taken by Robert Jensen after his son Chris found the unusual insect wandering around on the desert floor. The female wasp is about 2cm long; the males are much smaller and have wings. Their sting can be quite painful.
This beautiful rainbow insect is actually a wasp Commonly known as cuckoo wasps, the hymenopteran family Chrysididae is a very large cosmopolitan group (over 3000 described species) of parasitoid or kleptoparasitic wasps, often highly sculptured, with brilliantly colored metallic-like bodies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo_wasp