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  • Red Velvet Ant - (Dasymutilla magnifica)

    Red Velvet Ant - (Dasymutilla magnifica)

    The classic warning colors and a spiky coat hint that the Red Velvet Ant is not to be trifled with


    Picture of Red Velvet Ant


    Staff Writer (1/29/2014): Although they look like fuzzy little ants, Velvet ants are actually hairy wasps! They run around the ground like ants, but are capable of delivering a very painful sting like any wasp. They call arid regions of the Southwest U.S. and Mexico home. Males can fly, but females are wingless. It is the female that can sting. All adults drink nectar from desert flowers and drink water where they can find it.

    Females lay their fertilized eggs in another wasp's or insect's nest. The Red Velvet Ant larvae hatch first and eat the insect's larvae before they have a chance to escape.

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    Details of the:
    Red Velvet Ant


    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Red Velvet Ant
    Scientific Name: Dasymutilla magnifica

    Taxonomy:
      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Hymenoptera
          Family: Mutillidae
           Genus: Dasymutilla
            Species: magnifica

    Size (Adult, Length): 18mm to 21mm (0.71in to 0.83in)

    Identifying Colors: black; red

    Additional Descriptors: stinging, harmful, fuzzy, hairy


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico


    * 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.