Timulla vagans

Timulla vagans

The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair, which most often is bright scarlet or orange, but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the giant panda. Their bright colors serve as aposematic signals. They are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. Unlike real ants, they do not have drones, workers, and queens. However, velvet ants do exhibit haplodiploid sex determination similar to other members of the Hymenoptera, including the Vespoidea.
Wandering Velvet Ant - Timulla vagans I was so excited to see this! It was a first for me :)

Habitat: On milkweed in a rural garden Geotagged,Summer,Timulla vagans,United States,Wandering Velvet Ant,timulla,velvet ant


This velvet ant is approximately 3/4 inch or 20 mm in length. The male has a black face, antennae, legs and wings. The thorax is also black except for a thin white line across the top. The abdomen is red and hairy. The female has a red thorax and a red head. Her abdomen is black with white hairy bands. The legs are black and hairy. The females do not have wings.
Velvet Ant - Timulla vagans Saw this 'ant' on a wall - I know my South European ant species quite well but didn't recognise this one at all. Then it dawned on me...what if this isn't an ant, but a velvet ant or wingless wasp! A quick google search later and it turns out it is indeed a velvet ant, this is the female and apparently she packs a severe punch when it comes to her sting - not as bad as the 'cow killer' velvet ant though ;) Geotagged,Greece,Summer,Timulla vagans,Velvet Ant


These wasps are parasitoids of Cicada Killer wasps. The females slip into the Cicada Killer nest and lay eggs on the larvae.


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SpeciesTimulla vagans