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Velvet ant
Date Issued: 1999-10-01
Postage Value: 33 cents

Commemorative issue
Insects & spiders
Velvet ant

Red velvet ants are wasps, not ants. Females are wingless and covered with dense hair, superficially resembling ants. The red velvet ant is the largest velvet ant species, reaching about 3/4 inch in length. They are black overall with patches of dense orange-red hair on the thorax and abdomen. Males are similar but have wings and cannot sting. Females seek the immature stages of ground-nesting bees, digging to the nesting chambers and eating a hole through the cocoon. She deposits and egg on the host larva, which soon hatches into a white legless grub. The immature velvet-ant eats the host larva, developing through several larval stages before forming a pupa.

Topic: Insects (54)  

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