Our organization of the day comes from Chile, the panda ant. It's not really an ant. It is in fact a wasp without wings of the Mutillidae family. They are related to the red velvet wasps / antennae of North America and are more commonly referred to as "cow killers".
No, they don't really kill cows but they do have a horrible sting, some much worse than others. Hence their reputation. I was personally stung by one of them. Not pleasant ! ! Look at her cousin's sting downstairs. Much like bees and hornets, their sting is actually a modified ovoid. Weird, and ouch! Yes, don't try to stroke them. Like all the other wasps
A common trait among velvet ants is that they are nice, velvety. They are known for their rather fuzzy appearance; yet, they have some of the toughest exoskeletons in the wasp family.
Panda ants are solitary, which means they don't live in nests or communities. Females crawl and feed primarily on nectar, but sometimes they take advantage of a smaller ant, caterpillar, or unsupervised nymph / larva. Males feed primarily on nectar.
On average, males are much larger than females in the Mutillidae family, and coloring patterns can vary widely between many species. The male panda ant, however, looks a bit like females.
It is probably the coloring of the female that allows the male to identify it when it flies above its head. Once the male spots her, he lifts her up into the air to mate. After mating, she takes refuge underground, usually in a honeycomb or wasp nest. She then lays her eggs on each nymph in the nest. The larvae then feed on their hosts. She can lay up to 2000 eggs during her 2 year life cycle.
Ants make high-pitched, vibrating sounds when disturbed, but they are usually silent. You've probably seen their cousins in North America before. Watch the video below to hear her cousin in action:
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