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Velvet ant - Mutillidae - Ronisia Marocana
Velvet ant - Mutillidae - Ronisia Marocana


Velvet ants
Velvet ants (Mutillidae), also referred to as cow killers or cow ants, are actually a family of wasps in the order Hymenoptera, the suborder Apocrita, the section Aculeata and the superfamily Vespoidea. The velvet ants are divided into 7 subfamilies, which include the Mutillinae, Myrmillinae, Myrmosinae, Pseudophotopsidinae, Rhopalomutillinae, Sphaeropthalminae and Ticoplinae.
There are approximately 6000 species of velvet ants worldwide;the two subfamilies Sphaeropthalminae and Mutillinae include about 2000-3000 species. The majority of velvet ants live in tropical and subtropical regions. The earliest fossil records of velvet ants preserved in amber are 25-40 million years old.
Female velvet ants reach body lengths of 3-20 mm, have no wings, are very hairy and have a defensive sting, which can cause a lot of pain. An important characteristic, distinguishing these wasps from other wingless wasps, are the fine bristles as also as elongated pits, which they have on their sides and are known as "felt lines".
As in all Apocrita, the thorax is merged with the first abdominal segment, forming a unit called the mesosoma. The 4 segments of the mesosoma are blended together seamlessly and surrounded by a hard shell (exoskeleton) that provides effective protection against stings from bees or bumble bees when in their nests they are parasitizing to their larvae.
Some species of velvet ants are striking because of their unusual shape and colour which can be a form of mimicry, a warning or a kind of camouflage. The antennae of the males have 13 segments, the females 12. The males have normally developed compound eyes and simple eyes, while females have less developed compound eyes and no simple eyes.
The larvae of velvet ants live parasitically in the nests of Aculeata, where they consume both the larvae of the hosts, as well as their food (nectar and pollen). Adult velvet ants are active from May to October in different habitats. In midsummer, they are often encountered en masse.

Genera229
Species2.871
Common namesCow ant, Velvet ant, Cow ants, Cow killer, Panda ants, Velvet ants, Mutillid wasps, Velvet Ants-Wasps
German namesAmeisenwespen, Spinnenameisen, Bienenameisen, Kahlwespen, Singameisen, Kreuzameisen
Dutch namesMierwespen
Danish namesFløjlsmyrer
Finnish namesMutipistiäiset
Swedish namesSammetssteklar
AuthorAndré, 1907
Distribution
Checklists

Continents:

Eurasia
America
Africa
Oceania


Ecozones:

Palaearctic
Nearctic
Afrotropical


Fossils:

Cenozoic
Mesozoic


Countries
Checklists
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Somalia, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, USA, Uganda, United Kingdom, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Links and ReferencesMutillidae in bie.ala.org.au
Mutillidae in faunaeur.org
Mutillidae in itis.gov
Mutillidae in dyntaxa.se
Mutillidae in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Velvet ant - Mutillidae - Ronisia Marocana
Quick search: Velvet - Ant - Wasp - Wasps - Subfamily - Mimicry
Eyes - Species - Ants - Family - Form - Subfamilies - Larvae - Segments
Taxonomy
ClassInsecta
Insects, True insects
SubclassPterygota
Winged insects
InfraclassNeoptera
Wing-folding insects
SuperorderHolometabola
Holometabolous Insects
OrderHymenoptera
Wasps, Bees, Ants, Sawflies, Ants and wasps
SuborderApocrita
True wasps, Bees, Ants, Narrow-waisted hymenopterans, Parasitic wasps, Wasps
InfraorderAculeata
Stinging wasps
SuperfamilyVespoidea
Vespoid wasps, Yellowjackets, Hornets, Paper Wasps, Potter Wasps, Mason Wasps, Pollen Wasps, Velvet ants, Spider wasps, Social wasps, Mud wasps
FamilyMutillidae
Cow ant, Velvet ant, Cow ants, Cow killer, Panda ants, Velvet ants, Mutillid wasps, Velvet Ants-Wasps
AuthorAndré, 1907
 Species overview

Keywords
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NOPQRSTUVWXYZ
German Flag Ameisenwespen
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