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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
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Photo#10130
Velvet Ants Mating - Timulla ornatipennis - male - female

Velvet Ants Mating - Timulla ornatipennis - Male Female
Fort Bragg, Cumberland County, North Carolina, USA
June 17, 2004
This really confused me. Velvet Ants are not ants. Finally, I understand how this is categorized after reading this from my ant ID contact...Telling wasps from winged ants is the same as telling velvet ants from true ants. Velvet ants ARE wasps. Wasps have a constricted waist but not nodes. Some wasps may have a second constriction, for example potter wasps, but never form a broad node like ants. The node or "pedicle" of ants can be oval or flattend, sometimes with an edge like an axe head. A few ants have the pedicle inclined forward and very low, but these are small species. Many ants have a two-segmented pedicle. And as far as I know, no wasps have true elbowed antennae.

Timulla ornatipennis
Moved from Timulla.

I would love to see this for myself!
Hi, Lynette. Just came across this photo in an image search and I am so jealous. I have had the pleasure of photographing both male and female velvet ants, but I've never witnessed the act of copulation -- much less photographed it! Nice work, and from what I can tell, one of your first batch of images submitted to the site.

 
Thanks Harsi..
Yes it would be nice to have the experience I have now and go back in time. I would have known this was someting interesting and spent more time getting a better shot. At the time I didn't even know they were velvet ants.

Awesome photo!
The species you have here is either Timulla barbata or ornatipennis. Species with banded wings are really rare, only these two!
There are only three genera of velvet ants in North America that carry the females while they mate: Timulla, Ephuta, and Myrmosa. All the others mate on the ground. These are usually the only genera where the males are much larger than the females. In most other genera, the males are the same size or smaller than the females. It is really fortunate to find mating specimens, that is an awesome picture!

 
thanks
Maybe not an awesome photo, but an awesome find for sure.

Know which is which?
I can't decide. Do you happen to know?

By the way, I'm really enjoying all these great images you're posting. Would you would care to tell us a bit more about yourself? You could update your account information with some details (first and last name would be great) or post a forum topic as an introduction.

 
Male on top, female beneath
What a fabulous image. The winged individual is a male, and beneath her is the wingless female. I had heard that the males were usually larger, but this couple seems especially dimorphic.

 
Glad you like them
I'm glad you like the photos. I'm hopelessly addicted to chasing bugs around the countryside with my camera! The only reason I have time to post these is because it's too cold outside to find any bugs right now. I'll update my info, as I'm not sure what a forum topic is yet.

 
You're in good company here!
I think most of us share your same passion. The link to the forums is in the bar under the the header near the top of the page. That's just an area for less structured discussion like you'll find on many other web sites.