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Dasymutilla_eminentia-1 This harmless looking furry little ball of fun packs a powerful sting. In fact it is a wasp that has few predators based on its stinging characteristics.<br />
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Despite its name, the Velvet Ant isn&#039;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<br />
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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. <br />
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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&#039; larvae.<br />
Busy female was hard to capture sharply.<br />
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For ID purposes: <a href="https://bugguide.net/node/view/338767/bgpage" rel="nofollow">https://bugguide.net/node/view/338767/bgpage</a><br />
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<figure class="photo"><a href="https://www.jungledragon.com/image/62787/dasymutilla_eminentia-2.html" title="Dasymutilla_eminentia-2"><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.jungledragon.com/images/2428/62787_thumb.jpg?AWSAccessKeyId=05GMT0V3GWVNE7GGM1R2&Expires=1545868810&Signature=CaMIzd3ut04mtAaeYsO84fiRJmo%3D" width="152" height="152" alt="Dasymutilla_eminentia-2 Second angle<br />
 Dasymutilla eminentia,Geotagged,Summer,United States,wasp" /></a></figure> Dasymutilla eminentia,Geotagged,Summer,United States,wasp Click/tap to enlarge PromotedSpecies introCountry intro

Dasymutilla_eminentia-1

This harmless looking furry little ball of fun packs a powerful sting. In fact it is a wasp that has few predators based on its stinging characteristics.

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.
Busy female was hard to capture sharply.

For ID purposes: https://bugguide.net/node/view/338767/bgpage

Dasymutilla_eminentia-2 Second angle<br />
 Dasymutilla eminentia,Geotagged,Summer,United States,wasp

    comments (6)

  1. Nice! I've only seen a velvet ant once in my life...

    Velvet Ant (Mutillidae), Santa María, Colombia This looked like an unusually giant ant to us when finding it, but it turns out to be a Velvet Ant. Which still is no ant, it's a wasp, a flightless female wasp. And as luck would have it, only now we find out that it is known for its extremely painful sting. Some of the species in this family that have the black/white pattern as seen on this photo are nicknamed panda ants. I would not recommend cuddling them though.<br />
<br />
Similar spotting:<br />
https://www.flickr.com/photos/artour_a/6018073963/in/faves-antbbx/ Boyacá,Colombia,Fall,Geotagged,Hoplomutilla Xanthocerata,Santa María,South America,World

    ...yet could not recognize yours as one. What an unusual appearance, very cool find!
    Posted 4 months ago, modified 4 months ago
  2. Really cool find, what a bizarre looking creature! Posted 4 months ago
    1. Yes and their behavior is equally crazy. Constantly on the move. This girl was not about to slow down for a shot. Posted 4 months ago
  3. Awesome! I've never seen this species!

    I have shots of a couple of species of velvet ants, but I have difficulty getting quality ones because they are VERY fast and I have no wish to be stung! Any tips on getting clear shots for a fast-moving target like this?
    Posted 4 months ago
    1. Lisa,

      These do move quickly and constantly which makes it more difficult to capture clear/clean shots. What I did in this case is study its movements in terms of its path (directionally) even though it is sporadic at best. You can still get a sense as to where it is trying to go. Then I get ahead of where I think it is going to go (by inches) pre-focused and wait for it. It is quite amusing at times but can be useful in this type of chase. Good luck and practice, practice, practice! BTW- when I say pre-focus I set my lens to manual focus @ 1:1 (or maximum ratio of lens) and use a swaying in and out motion to get the right focus. Never use auto focus or try to focus with the lens ring. Simply move the camera in and out of range to the subject to achieve correct focus. And take lots of pictures. Make sure you get your shutter speed up to reduce motion blur. This shot was on a semi cloudy day and I still used 1600ISO to get a good shutter speed.
      Posted 4 months ago, modified 4 months ago
      1. And turn IS off. You will freak out the IS system moving the camera as much as you will chasing anything around that is fast moving. Posted 4 months ago

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Dasymutilla eminentia is a velvet ant in the Dasymutilla genus.

Species identified by fchristant
View Stephen Philips's profile

By Stephen Philips

All rights reserved
Uploaded Jul 10, 2018. Captured Jul 10, 2018 10:39 in E Britton Way, Tucson, AZ 85739, USA.
  • Canon EOS 5DS R
  • f/8.0
  • 1/3200s
  • ISO1600
  • 400mm