Mutillid Wasp (Pseudomethocha oculata)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Mutillid Wasp, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/24/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The female Mutillid Wasp is a cunning ant-mimic. This solitary wasp can issue one of the most painful insect stings known to humans.
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.