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  • Mutillid Wasp - (Pseudomethocha oculata)

    Mutillid Wasp - (Pseudomethocha oculata)

    The female Mutillid Wasp is a cunning ant-mimic. This solitary wasp can issue one of the most painful insect stings known to humans.


    Picture of Mutillid Wasp


    Staff Writer (1/24/2014): Though they look and act like ants, the solitary wasps known as Velvet Ants are anything but. Wingless females are capable of rendering terribly painful stings, leaving human victims bewildered. Examining the antennae of a Velvet Ant will help distinguish it from a true ant. Ant antennae bend in a sharp 'elbow' while this wasp's antennae do not.

    Adults drink nectar and water. Their larvae, however, are fantastic parasitic predators. The eggs of a Velvet Ant are laid near the eggs of other bees, wasps, or even flies. They hatch and quickly begin to devour the unsuspecting hosts.

    This particular species is not as hairy as typical Velvet Ants (see Red Velvet Ant and Thistle Down Velvet Ant for comparison). They are extremely tiny wasps and look more like real ants than other members of the Mutillidae family.

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    Details of the:
    Mutillid Wasp


    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Mutillid Wasp
    Scientific Name: Pseudomethocha oculata
    Other Names: Velvet Ant

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Mutillidae
           Genus: Pseudomethocha
            Species: oculata





    Size (Adult, Length): 3mm to 8mm (0.12in to 0.31in)

    Identifying Colors: red, yellow, black, brown

    Additional Descriptors: stinging, biting, harmful, stinger, ant, bands, hairless


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arizona; California; Florida; Georgia; Louisiana; Mississippi; Texas


    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.