Panda Ant

Even though it seems like an ant, it is not! This is one of 3,000 species of wasps in the family Mutillidae of Order Hymenoptera. Commonly known as Velvet ants, but black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the giant panda. Their bright colors serve as aposematic signals. They are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. However, mutillids are not aggressive and sting only in defense. Unlike true ants, they are solitary, and lack complex social systems.

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Written by Josin Tharian

Assistant Professor of Zoology by profession.

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