Subject: Red ant locking bug with black legs
Location: Corona, CA
April 10, 2016 11:14 pm
I found this little bug yesterday in the Cleveland National Forrest, Corona, CA. Can you tell what is it?
This is a flightless female wasp known as a Velvet Ant and she is reported to have a very painful sting. Your Velvet Ant is in the genus Dasymutilla, possibly Dasymutilla aureola pacifica based on this BugGuide image, though we suspect dissection of the genitalia may be the only way to properly determine the species. The species may be identified, according to BugGuide, because “Females (wingless): Covered with red vestiture; thorax as broad as long, and the head is broader than the thorax.” Perhaps it is the camera angle, but the head on your Velvet Ant does not appear to be broader than the thorax. Perhaps based on this BugGuide image, your Velvet Ant might be Dasymutilla vestita. We include the Velvet Ant on our Big Five link of “Bugs” that may result in an extremely painful and/or possibly deadly encounter, though that deadliness is far more likely to occur in the “Bug” than the human.