Shrub Steppe - Eastern Washington State

Velvet ant

Eastern Washington


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Eastern Washington Map of Wildlife and Recreation Areas

Related information
Hot spots around the world -- Diversity, density, and longevity of mutillid wasps
Mutillidae - Wikipedia
Family Mutillidae - BugGuide


Picture of a velvet ant climbing about snow buckwheatThe orange and black velvet ant is really a wingless female mutillid wasp, known to some as a cow killer because of the mighty sting she packs. The males of this wasp species have wings.

This solitary wasp seeks out the provisioned burrows of other aculeate (stinging) wasps and bees to lay its eggs so its young may consume the developing larvae. As such, mutillid species serve as an indicator for the abundance and diversity of their host wasps and bees, providing a good measure of the overall health, stability, and diversity of the ecosystem of the surrounding area.

Mutillid wasps are mainly nocturnal, and are more likely to be seen around dusk.

» Other Eastern Washington Wasps


Velvet ant nectaring
Velvet Ant nectaring


Velvet ant or cow killer picture
Velvet Ant with snow buckwheat flower

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