A Different Sort of “Ant”

You don’t see one of these every day.

Of course, you can tell it is a male right off*.

This one was having a bit of trouble finding its way about.

Can you spot why?

*Only male velvet ants have wings. The males do show their wasp affiliation more than the females do.

9 Replies to “A Different Sort of “Ant””

  1. Now, I have no idea whether I am totally out of the world, but it seems to me, that it’s quite cold out there and it would seem to me that the ice on the screw(?) will not let him go readily…
    Did he take off in the end? Such a beauty should not be screwed be a screw (sorry!).

  2. Okayokay, I misread the question and didn’t read the first reply and have just thought of cold, ‘coz it is very cold here in Germany and made a bad joke, hey, that altogether just makes me lose a mere 100 points of none that I have: makes minus 100 points…

  3. At least 100 🙂

    Good guess, but I think Ted nailed it. And I don’t know what species it is off hand. Does anyone know?

  4. So, now that I have settled down a little, I have had a casual look through the web and found only one velvet ant mentioned (and shown) that was black and white. And though boys ‘n’ girls do look very different, I guess most of the species will use a similar palette of colors in themselves. Meaning, that a b/w female is likely to have a b/w male – or not so? So my very uneducated guess would be to look up the “Thistledown Velvet Ant” (Dasymutilla gloriosa). But hey, it’s Dumbo speaking…

  5. Mike,

    Well, Ted is a renowned beetle expert, so feeler-thingy must be technical 🙂

    Velvet ants are not really ants (Family Formicidae), but are a type of wasp (Family Mutillidae). The females lack wings, and look more like ants than the male shown here.

  6. Dave,

    Using the rule that when the name isn’t taxonomically accurate the two words are joined (for example, whitefly), you would think that would be the case. Velvet ants seem to slip through the cracks of this rule, because I don’t remember seeing them joined. Do you think it is because the two are closely related?

    Has anyone seen “velvetants” written as one word?

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