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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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BugGuide Gathering
Smoky Mountains
University of Tennessee Biological Field Station
August 8-10, 2008
Photos from the last gathering (Minnesota 2007)


Family Mutillidae - Velvet Ants

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Bees, Ants, and other Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea
Family Mutillidae (Velvet Ants)
6-30 mm
Females wingless and very hairy, resembling large ants. Note lack of node (bump) on "waist" between abdomen and thorax. Ants have one or two nodes there.

Males winged, less hairy, look more like typical wasps, larger than females.
Adults (males at least) are observed taking nectar.
Life Cycle
Parasitoids of other solitary hymenoptera (bees and wasps). Sometimes reported to attack other groups as well, e.g., beetles, flies (Univ. Florida).
Some velvet ants can give an excruciating sting if handled
Internet References
Univ. Florida--Entomology 3005
Univ. Florida Featured Creatures--Mutillidae --Velvet Ants
Works Cited
1.A Field Guide to Insects
By Richard E. White, Donald J. Borror, Roger Tory Peterson
2.How to Know the Insects
By Roger G. Bland, H.E. Jaques