An unfamiliar Australian insect has been revealed on a North East property in a discovery described as a first-ever record.
Trust for Nature found the velvet ant in Boorhaman North on land owned by farmer Alan Lappin.
Velvet ants are fuzzy insects that chew into the nests of wasps and bees where they lay an egg on a young pupa.
Conservation officer Zoi Banikos said they had been doing an ecological assessment on the property, which had a Trust for Nature covenant protecting red gum swamp for conservation.
"We looked under some loose bark and found a scorpion sitting next to a strange insect that I hadn't seen before," she said.
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"We took some photos and sent them to local entomology enthusiast Karen Retra to help with identification."
Not recognising the species, Ms Retra posted the photos on the global citizen science website iNaturalist.
A US-based expert identified it as Ephutomorpha quadrisignata, commonly known as a velvet ant, with South African professor Denis Brothers, a published author on velvet ants, confirming the identification.
Ms Retra said it was an exciting find.
"It's the first record of E. quadrisignata in the Atlas of Living Australia, the nation's biodiversity database," she said. "Professor Brothers noted that this species is thought to be widespread, but there are few records.
"It just goes to show there is still so much to discover about our native fauna, particularly invertebrates."
Mr Lappin was thrilled to hear of the discovery.
"It's gratifying to know that this special area is home to a relatively unknown species," the property owner said.