Velvet ant

Title Info
Common name Velvet Ant
Scientific name Mutilidae
Taxonomic group Hymenoptera
Source Dan L. Perlman
Selection and adaptations Coloration
Coloration Aposematic coloration
Organisms Animals
Animals Insects
Date 1988
Location Monteverde,Costa Rica,North America

Aposematic coloration in velvet ant, Costa Rica. Velvet ants are not actually ants, but wasps. Although males have wings, females such as the one shown here are wingless. Females have long stingers that can deliver a tremendous sting, which leads to their other common name, cow killers. Once seen, their distinctive color patterns are easy to remember (they come in other colors as well, usually strongly contrasting and easy to spot). This type of bright and memorable color pattern is called aposematic coloring, and acts as a warning.