Velvet Ant
( Mutillidae )


2010-0325-EB070000-HYM01201-Mutillidae[1628h47s,F,A,plant]{MDame}-G.jpg

PHOTO COMMENT

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Mutillidae
)
Common Name:Velvet Ant
Life Stage:(A) adult

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Hymenoptera
Suborder:Apocrita
Family:Mutillidae
Taxon Code:HYM01201
ITIS/TSN:154181

LOCATION DETAILS
Location Name
Briones Regional Park, Briones Regional Park, Briones Regional Park, EBRPD, 2537 Reliez Valley Rd., Martinez
County:Contra Costa County
ECI Site#:CAEB070000
Open Space Location:Briones Regional Park, EBRPD

RECOGNITION
Description
Antlike, but without notes on the waist. Often black with red setae. Females: wingless, very hairy, and may look like large ants but have no node on waist between abdomen and thorax (ants have one or two). Males: winged, less hairy, look more like typical wasps, larger than females. The sexual dimorphism caused grave taxonomic confusion: genders are difficult to associate and males & females of a single species often get placed in separate genera.
Body Length
6-30 mm.
Diversity
About 480 species in North America, with about 8,000 species in 230 genera or subgenera worldwide.

BIOLOGY
Velvet ants are a kind of wasp with a really nasty sting. They are also known as cowkillers or mulekillers. Adult females are wingless. They forage for nests of ground-nesting bees or the subterranean brood of other insects where its larvae are parasitic on the insect brood.
Food
Adult males may be observed taking nectar. These are ectoparasitoids of immature insects, esp. bees and solitary wasps (also flies, limacodid moths, beetles, and cockroaches).
Habitat
Woodland and desert habitats.
Importance
Can give an excruciating sting if handled
Distribution
Worldwide, but most common in arid areas of the North American Southwest.
Diversity
About 480 species in North America, with about 8,000 species in 230 genera or subgenera worldwide.
Importance
Can give an excruciating sting if handled

CREDITS
Photographer
Mike Dame
Insect Sciences Museum of California

References
Family Mutillidae - Velvet Ants. (http://bugguide.net/node/view/159). Accessed March 12, 2016. .
ITIS.


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