Subject: Is it a bug? A spider? What is it?
Geographic location of the bug: Southern California hills
Time: 03:56 PM EDT
My Cub Scouts found this guy on the trail in the hills of Southern California on a warm October early evening. Any idea what he is?
How you want your letter signed: Dawn
Your Scouts encountered an insect commonly called a Velvet Ant, actually a flightless female Wasp that packs quite a painful sting. There are many species of Velvet Ants in the world, and Southern California might have the greatest diversity of these members of the family Mutillidae. We will attempt a species identification for you.
Update: BugGuideBased on this image, this might be Dasymutilla californica.