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Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp)
velvet ant

DESCRIPTION: L=up to 1" (25mm). The many species resemble extremely hairy ants, but are actually wasps. Most are aposematically colored in bright, memorable colors including black, red, yellow, and white. Females are wingless and males have wings.
NATURAL HISTORY: Adults feed on nectar and pollen; larvae feed on burrowing bee and burrowing wasp larvae and pupae. Females search the ground until they find a burrow of a wasp or bee (host). They enter the burrow, and search for host larvae that have completed feeding or have pupated. Once found, the female velvet ant will lay an egg in the cell conaining the larva/pupa and close the cell back up. After hatching, the velvet ant larva feeds on the host's larva or pupa and then pupates itself into an adult that emerges to carry on the tradition.

Warning: velvet ants have the longest stinger of any stinging wasp (ASDM 2000) and the sting is painful.