velvet ant

velvet ant

noun
any of several fuzzy, often brightly colored wasps of the family Mutillidae, the wingless, antlike female of which inflicts a severe sting.

Origin:
1740–50, Americanism

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Collins
World English Dictionary
velvet ant
 
n
a solitary digger wasp of the family Mutillidae
 
[C19: so named from the wingless female]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

velvet ant

any of a group of wasps (order Hymenoptera) that are named for the covering of dense hairs and somewhat antlike appearance of the wingless females. Males are also covered with dense hairs but have wings and resemble wasps. Most species are brightly coloured, with yellow, orange, or red patterns, ranging in size from about 6 to 20 mm (about 0.25 to 0.80 inch). Males are generally less brightly marked than the females. About 3,000 species are known, and they are most prevalent in the hot, dry regions of the Western Hemisphere.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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