Velvet Ant

Animal Guide : Insects and Spiders

Velvet Ant
Fun Fact:
The eye-catching Velvet Ant is not really an ant at all.

What's for Lunch:
Nectar for adults; another insect's larvae for young

Where's Home:
Chaparral, coastal sage scrub

Scientific Name:
Dasymutilla sp.

Animal Guide : Insects and Spiders


The large, fuzzy red "ant" ambling across a dry part of the trail is a wingless female wasp. She's out in search of the nest burrows of other wasps or bees, where she'll leave her eggs. When they hatch, the Velvet Ant brood will feed on the cache of food left for the other insect's larvae—or else on the larvae themselves. The Velvet Ant's brilliant coloring is a warning: she has a painful sting.