This scanning electron micrograph (SEM) revealed morphologic details on an unidentified region of a female velvet ant's, Dasymutilla sp., exoskeletal surface.At this magnification of 210X, you'll note the presence of sensorial 'hairs' upon the surface of the exoskeleton, which are really not hairs as in the mammalian sense, i.e., composed of keratin, but chitinous extensions composed of the same protein as that of the exoskeleton itself.The velvet ant is not really an ant at all, but a wasp, which merely resembles an ant, hence its name. It is a member of the Family, Mutillidae, and the Order, Hymenoptera. 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