Yellow Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Yellow Velvet Ant, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 12/18/2015; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Yellow Velvet Ant is a stinging wasp in disguise - its colors and bristly hairs offering fair warning.
Despite its name, the Velvet Ant isn't an ant at all! It is a type of wasp. True ants have bent antennae and a twice-constricted waist, unlike velvet ants which retain their wasp-like antennae. They are mainly found in the arid and semi-arid states of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico
This family of wasp is mostly solitary instead of living in nests and in large numbers. Only males have wings and fly, the ground-laden females can deliver a painful sting and should not be trifled with.
Yellow Velvet Ant larvae are parasitic. Females lay their fertilized wasp eggs in the nest of other bees or wasps. The Yellow Velvet Ant larvae hatch first and then devour the other species' larvae.