Velvet Ant and Unknown Spider
Thistle Down Velvet Ant. I’m not really partial to blondes, but this little lady caught my eye in the parking lot at work in Poway, San Diego County. Don’t worry, I resisted the urge to pet her. I know she packs a painful stinger. I’m also including an unidentified spider. He was about the same size as a full grown green lynx, which are abundant in this area. Possibly another type of lynx?
Love your site,
Bernard Davis

Hi Bernard,
Thank you so much for your great photo of the Thistledown Velvet Ant, also known as the Gray Velvet Ant, Dasymutilla gloriosa. This is a new species for our site. The wingless female does have a painful sting. She wanders about on the ground searching for sand wasp burrows. She lays her eggs there and the young Velvet Ant larva then feasts on both the larval wasp as well as the food source of paralyzed flies the female Sand Wasp provides for her young. Male Velvet Ants fly.

Ed. Note Update: (12/02/2005)
ID corrections, etc. I’ve just discovered your excellent site (directed there by “This is True”), and as a hymenopterist have a few comments: All of the “thistledown velvet ants” shown are actually Dasymutilla nocturna, not Dasymutilla gloriosa. The latter has the erect hairs somewhat sparser and more “untidy”, the body is a reddish brown, not black, and all the hairs are whitish (no black hairs), so the legs look whitish.
I hope these comments are useful.

Update: (04/02/2008) ID for insects
Hey, my name is Will, this is a list of the ID’s for the velvet ant page. image 38. Dasymutilla sackeni hope this helps a bit.

Location: California

3 Responses to Velvet Ant

  1. Lorna says:

    I found one of these in my backyard today and another one with wings. A few day ago I was bit by the one with wings. Wow painful can’t describe how much it hurt. It bit me 3 times and scared the daylights out of me. Can you tell me where they like to make their nests. I need these gone asap.
    Thank You,

    • bugman says:

      We do not offer extermination advice, and we are surprised to learn a winged male Velvet Ant caused a painful bite.

      • Lorna says:

        Thank you but I wish you could help me in getting rid of these nasty ants. I have found 7 yesterday and 3 more today. Hopefully the poison will get rid of them. Yes the male bite like no other bite. The welt from the bite just finally went away a couple days ago. They lat a long time at least on me anyway.
        Again thank you for your information.

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