Velvet Ant
(Winged Male)


a Timulla, Mutilidae wasp from the Sta. Rita Mountains photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed taking sugary secretions from an oak gall in the riparian corridor of Florida Canyon, Sta. Rita Mts., Arizona, USA. 30 July 2013. Length is about 12 mm.

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Female velvet ants do indeed appear like ants covered in colorful red and black velvet. Without wings they run over the ground investigating tunnels and crevices along the way for the underground nests of bees or wasps. Wings would be a hindrance to these prey-hunting females, but for males like this one wings are a necessity for finding females widely spaced across the landscape. Males and females are also much different in size and there are many species. The puzzle for naturalists is to match the males and females by species and also to identify the specific host bees that are parasitized.

Mutilidae -- Velvet Ant Family

Other Velvet Ant Species:

Thistle-Down Velvet-Ant  Which Way Velvet Ant

More Information:

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Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
Invertebrates in Arizona's Sycamore Canyons
Sycamore Woodland Flora


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 16 Nov. 2014