Fuzzy Red and Black ant looking thing
Location:  North East Arkansas, United States
September 3, 2010 3:22 pm
Hi. I just found this little horror running around on my kitchen floor. I trapped him under a little plastic container and as soon as I did it started hissing at me! I could hear it from two feet away! Now when I hold the container to my ear (with a lid on of course) it’s constantly making this strange high pitched ’khtkhtkhtkht’ noise. It looks VERY mean. It’s roughly a half an inch long and maybe a little more than a quarter of an inch wide. Red and black striped, very mean looking.
Found in:  North Eastern Arkansas
Signature:  Jesse

Cow Killer

Hi Jesse,
This is a Velvet Ant, a flightless female wasp in the family Mutillidae.  It is a Cow Killer,
Dasymutilla occidentalis, and it has earned its common name because the sting is reported to be extremely painful, so those warning colors are well earned.  Our favorite part of your letter is your description of the noises made by your Cow Killer.  The are able to make noise by stridulation or rubbing body parts together.

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