What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug…unknown
Bugman,
I am not sure if I sent the first one correctly. Here are the photo’s of a very strange looking bug. I am not sure if it is an ant,beetle or some kind of wingless bee? Is a bug in it’s developing stage? Will it morph later on? I live in the high desert. Hesperia, CA. I found it while rock hunting around my area. Please help me identify this bug. Thank you for any information.
Leanora

Hi Leanora,
This is a Thistledown Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp reputed to have a very painful sting. Males of the species are smaller and winged. Your photo is quite surreal.

Correction: (07/02/2007)
Hi, Daniel: Great job, as usual, with all the IDs and postings. Only one correction. Pretty sure the “thistledown velvet ant” posted is actually Sacken’s velvet ant, Dasymutilla sackeni. Thistledown velvet ants (D. gloriosa) have much longer hairs, and are bright white, not “dirty white” as this specimen is. Sacken’s velvet ant is one of the more common species in California. Great detective work by everyone on the male crevice spider! The angle of the image managed to camouflage those incredible pedipalps, which are a hallmark for ID of the males. The opening post for the “bug of the month” is also great, as it demonstrates what a great service you are providing in alleviating irrational fears of insects and spiders. I am overjoyed to hear of someone befriending a cicada killer instead of finding a big shoe….:-) Keep up the wonderful crusade, my friend. Sincerely,
Eric Eaton

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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