One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An ant-like velvety-bodied insect that is related to the wasps. The female is wingless and the larvae parasitize the young of bees and wasps in the nest.
Family Mutillidae, superfamily Scolioidea: numerous species, including the European Mutilla europaea
- ‘The velvet ant lays its eggs inside the body of living caterpillars, ants, bees and beetles.’
- ‘When it has completed its development, the larva forms a pupa and later emerges as an adult velvet ant.’
- ‘Because velvet ants usually travel alone and are not social, a person is unlikely to receive multiple stings.’
- ‘Arizona alone boasts 40 species each of scorpions and velvet ants, and 250 butterflies; the Sonoran Desert has 40 species of termites.’
- ‘So, if you see velvet ants, there is probably an underground wasp nest or bee nest somewhere close.’
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