velvet-ant

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Velvet Ants

The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair, which most often is bright scarlet or orange, but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the giant panda. They are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. However, mutillids are not aggressive and sting only in defense. Only female mutillids are capable of inflicting a sting. In addition, the actual toxicity of their venom is much lower than that of honey bees or harvester ants. Unlike true ants, they are solitary, and lack complex social systems.

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Velvet Ant (Mutillidae)

Velvet Ants are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair which most often is bright scarlet or orange, but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the Chinese giant panda. Their bite is told to be awfully painful.

I’m a graduate student in Entomology who doesn’t travel a lot, so I told my friend (irategeologist) to catch me something in the wild lands of the middle US while he’s doing silly rock things, because he sent me a picture of a snakefly and I nearly cried he didn’t keep it.

So naturally, the next day he sends me a picture, ‘look what I caught you!’

I recognize it immediately and flip out. He’s caught me a velvet ant and had NO IDEA that he could have been stung to high heaven because he had no idea what he was catching.

I am crying with both laughter and panic. Thankfully he caught it with a baggie and not his hands.

Everything's better with velvet

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It’s apparently also invertebrate-nomenclature slang for “actually being something totally different”. Onychophora, or “velvet worms”, are in a phylum of their own and are not annelids in the slightest. Velvet “ants” are actually the females of family Mutillidae, which are a wingless wasp. (Males are winged, like so.)

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From what I gather the fur serves a similar purpose as mammalian fur - a modicum of protection against bites from pissed-off ants getting a hungry wasp all up in their nest. It’s also friggin’ gorgeous (if I could verify that the blue ones I’ve found on GIS are a legit species I’d post those too.)

I definitely suggest the Brave Wilderness YouTube channel. It reminds me a lot of classic Animal Planet, like Jeff Corwin and Steve Irwin.

Coyote Peterson and his crew get up close with a lot of different wild animals, but they work with professionals, get special permissions, none of the animals are harmed, and they stress the importance of not emulating them.

Some of you might already know of him as “That guy who gets stung by things and screams for five minutes,” it can be hard to explain the importance of those particular videos but today I had a perfect example.

In a bug group I’m in on Facebook someone shared a fearmongering post about the Velvet Ant, which is actually a type of wasp of which the females are flightless. This post included graphic images of necrotic, infected wounds claiming that is what the sting of a Velvet Ant will do to you.

That is not a normal reaction, and although the sting of the Velvet Ant is incredibly painful for the average persons painful is all it is. One of those ‘get stung and scream for five minutes’ videos features the Velvet Ant, and Coyote’s arm clearly does not become necrotic. Another important aspect of this video is it shows that the Velvet Ant is actually pretty reluctant to sting him, it takes a concentrated effort on his part. These wasps are not out to get you, and if you respect their space you will be fine.

He has many other videos which have easier to understand purposes, but the sting videos can leave some people scratching their heads as to what the educational value is so I wanted to take a minute to explain it here. I’ll make a list of some other must watch videos when I can get on the computer.

I just found out Bugformers is a thing and I honestly needed this in my life. So I made a list, which I’ll be adding more to it whenever I have time, of what type of insect I think a character would be.

Rescue Bots:

Heatwave: Fire Ant

 Boulder: Goliath beetle

 Chase: Cicada

 Blades: Orange Tip Beetle

RID 2015:

Bumblebee: Honey Bee

Strongarm: Melolontha Beetle

 Grimlock: Rhinoceros Beetle

 Swideswipe: DragonFly

Drift: Eupatorus Beetle

 Jetstorm: Luna Moth

 Slipstream: Comet Moth

 Fixit: Harlequin Ladybird

Fracture: Assassin Bug

Windblade: Madagascan Sunset Moth

Thunderhoof: Wallace’s Longhorn Beetle

MTMTE:

Rodimus: Firefly or Jewel Scarab

Swerve: Clown Beetle \

Drift: Devil’s Flower Mantis

  Ratchet: Desert Loctus

 Tailgate: Rosy Maple Moth

 Cyclonus: Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing

Whirl: Mantispidae or Mantid Lacewing

Chromedome: Longhorn Beetle

 Rewind: Peacock Butterfly

Rung: Weaver Ant

  Ultra Magnus: Stag Beetle

Prowl: Japanese Giant Hornet

Skids: Wart-Headed Bug

TFA:

Bumblebee: Owlfly

 Ratchet: Banded Woolly Bear caterpillar

 Bulkhead: Ox Beetle

 Optimus Prime: Thorn Bug

 Prowl: Leaf-litter Mantid

 Jazz: Hummingbird Clearwing moth

 Airachnid: Velvet Ant

carbonpressure  asked:

I just discovered Coyote Peterson and honestly he's done so much crazy shit that I'm expecting him to Enter the Smash Zone with a peacock mantis shrimp any day now.

The first video I ever saw of his was him getting stung by the velvet ant. Then I watched all of his videos. Once the bullet any came along I didn’t think it could get worse. But I was certainly wrong.

He already got bit by an alligator snapping turtle. Next he’s gonna go play with lions.

I do love him dearly though. I want to see him play with a good ol’ Fisher Cat.