Insect Identification logo

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 ¬©

  Yellow Velvet Ant  
Picture of Yellow-Velvet-Ant
Picture of Yellow-Velvet-Ant

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.

Yellow Velvet Ant Information

Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Common Name: Yellow Velvet Ant
Scientific Name: Dasymutilla spp.

Taxonomy Hierarchy

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

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 6 mm to 25 mm (0.234 inches to 0.975 inches)
Identifying Colors: yellow; black; white
Additional Descriptors: hairy, stinging

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Arizona; California; Colorado; Nevada; New Mexico; Texas; Utah; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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 above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

Images Gallery


BugFinder: What is it?