Location: Southern Arizona
January 16, 2011 2:13 pm
Here’s a little guy I found in the lowlands of southern Arizona.
This little beauty is a Velvet Ant in the genus Dasymutilla, but we are unable to determine the exact species. We found at least three species on Bugguide with similar markings. Our leading candidate is Dasymutilla nogalensis which has been reported from Arizona on BugGuide. Another strong contender is Dasymutilla magnifica which BugGuide reports from California and Nevada as well as Arizona. Another look alike is Dasymutilla klugii which BugGuide does not report from Arizona, but which is reported from Colorado and Texas. Velvet Ants are actually flightless female wasps and they are reported to pack a wallop of a sting, so handle them with care. Interestingly, there is extreme sexual dimorphism in Velvet Ants and males which do not have a stinger possess wings. They are also often quite different in their markings from the females.
Thank you for supplying us with multiple camera angles.