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Thistle Down Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Thistle Down Velvet Ant.


 Updated: 9/23/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Thistle Down Velvet Ant  
Picture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-Ant
Picture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-Ant Picture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-AntPicture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-AntPicture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-AntPicture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-AntPicture of Thistle-Down-Velvet-Ant


The desert dwelling Thistle Down Velvet Ant is actually a wasp in disguise, delivering a far more painful sting than its cute, fluffly appearance implies.





Although it looks and walks like an ant, this hairy little creature is a wasp! The color of the hairs may vary from stark white to shades of yellow, but the sting is consistently painful regardless.

This particular species mimics the seeds of the creosote bush, blending in with the other debris around it to avoid predators. This means people should be careful when picking up tufts of hairs for closer examination.

Larvae of the Thistle Down Velvet Ant are parasitic like many species of wasp and they feed on the larvae of the Sand Wasp. Females will drop their eggs in the nest of the Sand Wasp and the Velvet Ant larvae will consume the Sand Wasp larvae.

Adults drink nectar. Males can be seen on flowers and they have wings. Females are wingless, but have painful stings as a defense since they cannot quickly escape from danger like males.
Basic Information
Common Name: Thistle Down Velvet Ant
Other Name(s): Grey Velvet Ant
Scientific Name: Dasymutilla gloriosa
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 16mm (0.51in to 0.62in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: white; black; gray; yellow
Additional Descriptors: hairy, stinging, flying




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Mutillidae
Genus: Dasymutilla
Species: gloriosa


Ant, Bee and Wasp Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of both a bee and an ant insect
1
Antennae: Ants and Bees both have a pair of antennae on the head that senses their surroundings.
2
Head: The head contains the insect's compound eyes, antennae, and mandibles.
3
Thorax: Contains various vital parts such as the aorta and nervous system.
4
Abdomen: Contains various organs including the heart, gut, venom glands, and anus.
5
Legs: Ants and Bees have three pairs of legs attached to the thorax (center-body section).
NOTE: Ants, Bees and Wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order because they share many similarities.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Thistle Down Velvet Ant may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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