The bug looks like David Bowie
Dear bugman,
I’m told you may be able to tell me what it is. I live in Southern California, silverado canyon to be exact (it’s on the edge of the cleveland national forest). It was a few months ago, this bug (pic attached) wondered onto our property. We see alot of strange spiders and bugs of sorts, but this one stumped us. It is 1/2 – 3/4 inches long. if you could tell me what kind it is i would be very greatful, we call it the David Bowie bug (since they share the same hair cut). We have not seen anything like it since that day.
Thank you,
Regina McIntyre

Hi Regina,
The Thistledown Velvet Ant does rather resemble David Bowie in his Diamond Dog days. This is actually a flightless female wasp.

Ed. Note Update: (12/02/2005)
ID corrections, etc. I’ve just discovered your excellent site (directed there by “This is True”), and as a hymenopterist have a few comments: All of the “thistledown velvet ants” shown are actually Dasymutilla nocturna, not Dasymutilla gloriosa. The latter has the erect hairs somewhat sparser and more “untidy”, the body is a reddish brown, not black, and all the hairs are whitish (no black hairs), so the legs look whitish.
I hope these comments are useful.

Update: (04/02/2008) ID for insects
Hey, my name is Will, this is a list of the ID’s for the velvet ant page. image 31. is Dasymutilla sackeni, Nocturna is a very ristricted species(Glamis, Algodones dunes). hope this helps a bit.

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