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  • Velvet Ant - (Dasymutilla spp.)

    Velvet Ant - (Dasymutilla spp.)

    Velvet Ants are excellent mimics of the less intimidating insect it's named after, but this wasp-in-disguise inflicts terrible stings on prey and people alike.


    Picture of Velvet Ant
    Staff Writer (8/10/2017): Glistening hair almost beckons to be petted, but a Velvet Ant is a risky insect to touch. Because of their physical and behavioral similarity to ants, it is easy to mistake a female as harmless and not give it a wide berth.The female is wingless, giving some comfort, but what she lacks in mobility she makes up for in 'bite'. Her sting is painful and potent. She uses this as a defense against threats, including humans. Males do have wings and do not carry the same standard of stinging pain as females. Both genders can create a squeaking noise by doing abdominal crunches.

    What most Velvet Wasps use as hosts for feeding their larvae is unknown. The female gets more attention because she is grounded and more visible, but how Velvet Ants generally live can be as varied as the species. Watch out for this wasp in arid and semi-arid regions of the American Southwest and plains states. There are also some species in the Southeast.

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    Details of the:
    Velvet Ant


    Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
    Common name: Velvet Ant
    Scientific Name: Dasymutilla spp.
    Other Names: Cow Killer

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





    Size (Adult, Length): 13mm to 25mm (0.51in to 0.98in)

    Identifying Colors: black, red, white

    Additional Descriptors: stinging, biting, painful, hairy, ant, wasp, fast, flying


    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; 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; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; 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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