5 Incredible Capabilities of the Velvet Ant

This ant resembling family of wasps, is one of the most distinct, tough, and versatile of all wasps. Let’s found out why, as we count down the top 5 velvet ant powers.

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Their velvet fur is a warning to predators

As the name implies velvet ants have velvet-like fur, often in bright colors. If you think they are fuzzy and harmless, think again. This fur has evolved as a form of warning to potential predators. It is a warning that the velvet ant has a powerful sting and should be avoided.

They vibrate their bodies to create a warning sound

The noise covers a wide range of sound frequencies. It sends the message to any potential predators that they are facing off with a velvet ant. The velvet ant does not want a predator to be in any doubt who they are dealing with. In addition to the noise they make, and their bright colors, they also send out a clear warning in the form of an odor. Again the message is clear, stay clear or you will be stung. The smell and warning sound are likely associated with the sting and thus avoided.

They are very tough

They can withstand forces 11 times higher than a honey bee. Their shell-like bodies are able to withstand substantial pressure and it is very difficult for predators to get any kind of grip on their bodies. The hard shell of the velvet ant fends off predators. Although female velvet ants do not have wings, they make up for it with extremely powerful legs. The velvet ant is able to move quickly and exert force to escape a predator’s grip. They have a thicker exoskeleton than any other wasp, bee or ant.

They have an extremely painful sting

The velvet ant ranks highly on the Schmidt pain index. Schmidt describes the pain from the sting as: ‘Explosive and long-lasting, you sound insane as you scream. Hot oil from the deep fryer spilling over your entire hand.’ They are also known as the ‘cow killer’ due to the myth that the sting is so painful it could kill livestock. The excruciating pain from the sting can last you up to 30 minutes.

They have the longest stinger of all wasps

Not only do velvet ants have the longest stinger but it is also the most flexible. The velvet ant is able to direct the stinger in any direction. This makes it extremely difficult for predators to avoid a sting. With these powers, the velvet ant certainly deserves to be treated with serious respect. You probably would want to think twice before getting too close.