Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday Insect Blogging: Red Velvet Ant



This is a Red Velvet Ant (click the pic to enlarge) from the family Multilidae. It is actually a type of wasp. The females are wingless and can deliver a painful sting. The males have wings and cannot sting. I have been seeing these much more frequently this summer, maybe just because I have been looking more closely for this sort of thing. This is the best picture I could get because it was moving so fast.


Here is more information on the Red Velvet Ant and here is a better source if accessible

Don't forget to check out Modulator's Friday Ark!

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I juat killed a red velvet ant but at the time i didn't know what it was. I live in Bluff City, Tennessee. You may have heard of the "fastest 1/2 mile" race track Bristol Motor Speedway. I'm 5 miles from that raceway. I have never seem anything like this and I'm 50 years old. I've always been interested in nature and have pictures of moths I can't their beauty but this ant was from MARS.
Are they even suppose to live here in TN?

5:42 PM  
Blogger Linda Sue said...

I just killed a red velvet ant but at the time i didn't know what it was. I live in Bluff City, Tennessee. You may have heard of the "fastest 1/2 mile" race track Bristol Motor Speedway. I'm 5 miles from that raceway. I have never seem anything like this and I'm 50 years old. I've always been interested in nature and have pictures of moths I can't their beauty but this ant was from MARS.
Are they even suppose to live here in TN?

5:45 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Judging from the picture in the second link above and my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders from the National Audobon society, this is a "Cow Killer", Dasymutilla occidentalis. This "ant" has a range from New York to Florida and Gulf states, west to Texas. The Red Velvet Ant,Dasymutilla magnifica, has a range from Texas to California and Nevada, south to Mexico.

Yes, I have heard of the Bristol Motor Speedway. John Boy and Billy mention it from time to time. I actually interviewed at the family medicine residency program at Bristol. Its a very nice place

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELLO HELLO,
I JUST SAW ONE OF THESE FOR THE FIRST TIME AND I AM 38 YEARS OLD..I MANAGED TO CATCH MINE IN A ZIPLOC BAG SO I COULD SHOW THE KIDS..I HAPPENED TO LOOK IT UP ON GOOGLE AND FOUND THIS BLOG..I LIVE IN RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA..THIS ANT IS VERY BEAUTIFUL..I JUST RECENTLY WAS BITTEN BY A SMALL BLACK PISS ANT AND HAD A REACTION VERY BAD MY HAND BECAME VERY SWOLLEN AND THE ACTUAL BITE SITE BUSTED OPEN AND OOZED ABOUT A FOUR DAY CYCLE..I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS WITH ALLERGIC READTION TO BITES..I KNOW IT WAS A BLACK ANT BECAUSE I SAW IT ON MY HAND AND THEN FELT A SLIGHT PRICKLY FEELING AND THEN I SMACKED IT AND THEN THE REACTION...LOOK UP BLACK ANT BITE REACTION AND YOU WILL SEE HOW BAD THEY CAN BE...TAKE CARE AND HAVE A GREAT DAY...

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Mt. Washington, KY and this was the first time that I saw one of these things. I first thought that it was some sort of spider and since my 4 year old was trying to catch it, I killed the red velvet ant thinking that it could bite or sting. that's when I found this website.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw HUGE what i believe to be a red velvet ant in my back yard just after my landscapers left. I live in HIGH POINT NC. As well I am 35 and have never seen anything like it. It was extremly large for an ant. Had typical ant shape but was probably and 1" or little more long. It was black and almost copperish orange color. I tried to take a picture with my camera phone but she moved way to fast to get a picture.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen them over the last few years, up here in Alberta, Canada.
I've heard them called "cow killers" too. Wouldn't want to be bitten by one!

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Chuck said...

Hello folks. I am here in Nashville TN and saw a Red Velvet Ant (wasp) for the first time ever. Absolutely awesome! This was a female as it was wingless. It was pretty much a full inch in length. Colors were a beautiful (not faded) red and black. And I DO mean RED. I captured it temporarily and showed it to the family who were all astounded. I have also been seeing their male counterparts (winged) lately, for the first time. FYI, the female has a horibly painful sting. The male does not sting, but can sort of "fake" a sting. Awesome creatures.

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was bit by a red velvet ant today- and boy does it hurt-my whole foot is swoolen, i stepped on it!! i will be waering shoes from now own, u dont want any of that ant it is painful

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Animas, New Mexico on a ranch and we see these beautiful velvet ants all the time. We don't mess with them unless we are collecting for our 4-H Entomology class. Thank you.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 31 year old son just saw one today for the first time. He was using the garden hose and sprayed water on it and he said it made an erie high pitched noise. He said it ran very fast. I'm 63 and have never seen one, so I "googled" it and found your blog. We live in central Virginia.

Thanks for all the info.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Palm Beach County, Florida three weeks ago and saw one and thought it was pretty neat as I had lived in Florida for 34 years and had never seen one so I took a picture. Today, at home in Blount County, TN at the foothills of the Smoky Mountain National Park, my son was outside and found a "really cool bug" and wanted something to collect it in as my daughter has an AP Biology project where she needs to collect several species of insects. The Red Velvet is what he came in with. In less than a month and in two different states I see an insect that I have never seen in my 43 years on this planet.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Nashville, TN in August 2011, just saw my first one, trucking along down the gravel driveway. 3/4 inches long, beautiful red velvet color with black parts. Caught it in a jar, then let it go where I found it.

4:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw my first one in Somerset, KY, on Labor Day weekend, 2011.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Charles B Elam said...

My name is Charles I just caught a Red velvet ant out side the frie station Lithia Florida it moved so fast I got it inside a plastic bottle what a awesome ant. 9/13/11 3:53

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was stung by a red velvet ant several weeks ago in a garden in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The bite caused a huge red welt that was hot and swollen for about three days before it started to go down. I still have a mark on my arm where the stinger went in and the welt appeared. Not a fun experience!

9:25 AM  

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