Under a very low magnification of only 11X, this scanning electron micrograph (SEM) revealed the morphologic details of a female velvet ant's, Dasymutilla sp., distal abdomen from which her stinger had been exposed. Another view of the exposed stinger can be seen in PHIL 9894. The female velvet ant is not really an ant at all, but a wasp, which merely resembles an ant, hence its name. Its sting is very painful, which has caused it to often be referred to as the 'cow killer' ant. However, it was the post-sting festering wound, which would become infested with the now eradicated screw fly that would cause the cow's death, and not the sting. Also see PHIL 4638, 6363, and 6364 for photographs of the ant revealing its coloration, and velvety covering of external chitinous hairs.
CDC/ Michael and Paula Smith
December 1, 2012
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