Facts related to velvet ants

The Mutillidae are also referred to as “velvet ants”, they are not ants however; they are a family of wasps consisting of more than 3000 species. The female mutillidae are wingless and have very vibrantly coloured, hairy bodies, which makes them resemble ants (hence the name). The colors can be bright orange, scarlet, black, white, silver or even gold. These colors serve as aposematic signals – meaning the conspicuous colors help to warn off predators. Males have wings but no stingers and the females have stingers but not wings; The velvet ants also possess an unusually strong exoskeleton that helps them to retain moisture and also to invade the nests of prey. This outer covering is like a suit of armor and is very hard to penetrate; there have even been incidents where entomologists have faced difficulty in trying to pierce the armor with steel pins so that the wasps may be hung up for display. female velvet ants have a very potent and toxic venom; though velvet ants are very docile and rarely come into contact with people.The sting of the velvet ant is very painful so they are sometimes also called cow killer or cow ant. A sting generally only occurs if they are accidentally stepped on. If a sting does happen there is the possibility of a severe allergic reaction occurring in some people that will require immediate medical attention

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