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Velvet Ants (Dasymutilla spp.)
Invertebrates Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Probably Dasymutilla magnifica

General: Velvet Ants (Dasymutilla spp.) are hairy, ant-like creatures that are actually wasps. Females are colorful, hairy, flightless, and run quickly on the ground. In contrast, males have wings and fly, but look more like regular ants.

There are many species of velvet ants around Las Vegas. They come with differing amounts of black and orange, and even white, and they can be hard to identify to species.

dasy
Thistledown (Dasymutilla gloriosa)

Velvet ants are not aggressive and will try to escape if chased, but if caught, females can pack one heck of a sting that is said to be the worst of any stinging insect in the desert. Females can produce a squeaking sound when disturbed, but I have never heard it.

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

Golden Velvet Ants (Dasymutilla sackenii)
Golden Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla sackenii)

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

There are some 400 species of velvet ants in the southwestern deserts. Most are nocturnal, but a few species (such as those on this page) are seen during the day.

Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Male velvet ant with wings
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Male velvet ant with wings
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Male velvet ant with wings
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Male velvet ant with wings
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Male velvet ant with wings
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)
Male velvet ant with wings
Red Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.) Velvet Ant
Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.) Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla spp.)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170826

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