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White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa)
(aka Thistledown)
Invertebrates Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas

White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown
Female White Velvet Ant

General: White Velvet Ants (Dasymutilla gloriosa), also called Thistledown, are hairy, ant-like wasps. Females are flightless and run quickly on the ground, while males have wings and fly. Females have long white hairs that makes them look like creosote bush seeds, which helps them hide from predators. Males look like large ants. Other velvet ants are red and black.

Velvet ants are not aggressive and will try to escape if chased, but if caught, females can pack one heck of a sting. Females can produce a squeaking sound when disturbed.

Taxonomy: Class Insecta, Order Hymenoptera, Suborder Apocrita, Super Family Vespoidea, Family Mutillidae

White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown

Adults feed on nectar. The immature stages are parasites, mostly of ground-nesting bees and wasps. Velvet ants prefer sandy soils where their prey are likely to be found.

There are some 400 species of velvet ants in the southwestern deserts. Most are nocturnal, but keep an eye out for these interesting wasps around Las Vegas.

White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa) White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa)
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa) White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa)
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown
White Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla gloriosa), Thistledown more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170111

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