Subject: is this a spider or an ant?
Location: Covington, ga
September 15, 2013 1:48 pm
my husband says ant, I say spider
This is neither a spider nor an ant, so neither of you is correct, however, if points are awarded for closeness, your husband would be the winner. This is a Cow Killer, Dasymutilla occidentalis, and it is a flightless female wasp in the family Mutilidae. Ants and Wasps are classified in the same order, Hymenoptera, and the common name of the members of the family Mutilidae is Velvet Ant, so your husband has the proximity of the order as well as the common name of the family. Cow Killers get their common name because of the alleged pain of the sting they deliver. It is said to be painful enough to kill a cow, however, a cow would not directly die from the sting. We have heard that stung cows will sometimes run, and it is possible they might run into a ditch where they might break their necks or run into a road where they might get hit by a truck. At any rate, you should not try to handle a Cow Killer, which we have included in our Big 5 tag.
Thank you! I did some research after I emailed you and found out what it was. I have a child who is completing a “bug project” and seemingly we are finding all types of bugs. I am exited about bugs, I feel as if I should have become an entomologist :o)
Thanks you for your labor of love, your response is very much appreciated!