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These insects are wasps, not ants. Females are wingless and covered with dense hair, superficially resembling ants. The red velvet-ant is the largest velvet-ant species, reaching about 3/4 inch in length. They are black overall with patches of dense orange-red hair on the thorax and abdomen. Males are similar but have wings and can not sting.
Found in my yard. These are a yearly occurrence and much welcomed!
Females seek the immature stages of ground-nesting bees, digging to the nesting chambers and eating a hole through the cocoon. She deposits and egg on the host larva, which soon hatches into a white legless grub. The immature velvet-ant eats the host larva, developing through several larval stages before forming a pupa.
Spotted on Aug 3, 2012
Submitted on Aug 5, 2012
and 49 other people favorited this spotting
40 Comments (1–25)
AWESOME spotting, Please consider sharing this in "Intense Bees and Wasps" mission. http://www.projectnoah.org/missions/3046...
Very cool. Great photos.
Thanks harsuame and vipin.baliga!
You have to annoy them a bit to get them going. :) just dont get stung!
How very odd. I have never heard one do that before.
Thanks Leana, Tamir, Karen and matimar! They are not really aggressive toward humans. Since the females cannot fly, you have to be hurting them or handling them. They will readily sting under those circumstances.
I see these occasionally along a hiking trail. Are they aggressive towards people and do they bite/sting us?
Sergio: LOL, thanks!
Way to go, Lisa. Show them who is the boss! :-)
Thanks everyone! This is my first good macro...they dart around very quickly.
Congratulations Lisa !
When I was younger I use to catch these things all the time.
Just want to say... Super Ant- Super spotting- Super Organism and Super SOTD.... Congrats Lisa... These tiny wonderful creatures are great teachers to us Humans... Nicely captured details....Congratulations...!!
Congratulations on your SOTD, Lisa!
Wow this is fantastic congratulations Lisa :):)
Awesome shot! i didn't know velvet ants did that.
Congrats, Lisa. Great capture.