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  • Thistle Down Velvet Ant - (Dasymutilla gloriosa)

    Thistle Down Velvet Ant - (Dasymutilla gloriosa)

    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.


    Staff Writer (9/23/2014): 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.

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    Details of the:
    Thistle Down Velvet Ant


    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Thistle Down Velvet Ant
    Scientific Name: Dasymutilla gloriosa
    Other Names: Grey Velvet Ant

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





    Size (Adult, Length): 13mm to 16mm (0.51in to 0.63in)

    Identifying Colors: white; black; gray; yellow

    Additional Descriptors: hairy, stinging, flying


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and parts of 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.





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