Subject: A velvet ant & unrequited wasp love. Attempt number two.
Location: Palmyra, NJ & Philadelphia, PA
July 31, 2012 11:58 am
Please forgive me if these two photos have been previously received. I attempted to submit these late last week, however I didn’t get a confirmation E-mail so I’m not sure if my submission was successful.
The photos were taken on Sunday July 22, 2012. The first one was taken at Palmyra Cove Nature Park in Palmyra, NJ. (Had I realized that August’s bug of the month was the cow killer I would have taken a few photos of that species when I was there yesterday.) It took two trips to the park and three encounters with this particular species of velvet ant before I was able to get a photo of it.
The 1st time we came across one, she ran and hid in her burrow before I was able to get my phone out and snap a photo.
The 2nd encounter was in a grassy area & due to the grass obstructing the wasp I wasn’t able to capture a photo. I tried to coax her out into the open using a small twig, but she started to make an audible squeaking sound that told me that it was time to back off.
Finally on the third encounter, we found one in an open sandy area. Though she tried to run, she had more than enough space to run for me to have the time to get out my phone and take a picture.
After doing some research, with the aid of your site, I believe that I’ve identified her as Dasymutilla Vesta. Though, I could easily be wrong as I am no expert on insects.
After returning home from the park I noticed this pair of what I believe are black and yellow mud daubers trying to get busy on the Helenium that I planted a few years ago. Though, I’m not sure if the female was interested. The male was jabbing away furiously at the female’s abdomen but he never seemed to find his mark. Perhaps we killed the mood by barging in on them, or perhaps she had a headache.
I’ve taken a few other photos of some other insects at Palmyra Cove that I wouldn’t mind sharing with you, provided that multiple submissions from one individual wouldn’t be a nuisance. I honestly think that I’m one of the few people who go to that park mainly to see the insect life over any of the other wildlife that lives there.
Thank you for your time.
Thanks for your persistence. We did receive your original submission, and we intended to post it, but alas, we didn’t get to it and suddenly your email got buried under the deluge of summer identification requests we receive. Thank you again for resending. We cannot for certain identify the Velvet Ant to the species level, but another possibility based on BugGuide images and range information might be the genus Ephuta. We have heard the squeaking noise you describe and for such tiny creatures, Velvet Ants are able to make a disproportionate amount of noise. We will nonetheless tag this as a Bug Love entry even though you didn’t actually capture the mating act with your camera. We would love to receive other submissions from you, especially of species that are not well represented on our site or images that are exceptional for other reasons.
Please in the future, only submit one specimen at a time. We like to have each posting be a distinct species unless there is some relationship between two species that is significant.