Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Photo#1078596
Hairy Velvet Ant Punctated Surfaces - Dasymutilla arenivaga - male

Hairy Velvet Ant Punctated Surfaces - Dasymutilla arenivaga - Male
Tonopah Desert, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
May 2, 2015
Size: 13mm
These are close up images of a male Velvet Ant, that resembles several species of Velvet Ants in the genus Dasymutilla. The six major character groups for ID information that can be seen in these images, are listed below. Please note that I'm including extra shots of him in different lighting conditions and I'm also including extra crops of the abdomen, legs & head, to show all of the shapes and proportions of parts that may be an aid to any future users or administrators. These guys are very tough to ID properly.
Full Size Image: Click Here
Here is a list for you:
1) - size or overall body length
2) - overall body shapes, colors, punctations & textures
3) - hair coverings and bald spots, hair color patterns & length (variable)
4) - abdominal shape, large notches on the sides of 2nd tergite, lack of a pit in the center of 2nd sternite & two rear-end spines or "pygidia" (pygidium)
5) - facial hairs, mandibles & other mouth-parts
6) - leg shapes, textures, spurs & hairs
NOTE: Geographic distribution may help to narrow the choices. In this case I have a few species to choose from and not very many example images to compare him with. The closest match seems to be Dasymutilla arenivaga or D. vestita.
NOTE: This is the scale calibration shot. (in millimeters) In the full screen version of this image, I can only see the tips of his his pygidia and the bases of them, which are almost hidden in the hairs and contamination. (small particles of dust?) Most of his head is too dark to find many details in this image, but his facial hairs show up nicely.
Here is a link to his video: ♂ Hairy Velvet Ant in the Desert (3min duration)

Images of this individual: tag all
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Additional ID info, from the California Key to Species
Here is more information, from the Key to Western species of Dasymutilla: THE CALIFORNIA VELVET ANTS OF THE GENUS DASYMUTILLA ASHMEAD (A link to the key is on the info page.)
Keying to species of Dasymutilla (in the western range only): (Hurd 1951)
1. - Male = 2
2. - Second abdominal sternite without any clearly defined median pit filled with hairs = 10
10. - Posterior tibia cylindrical, ventral surface not flattened = 11
11. - Ultimate abdominal tergite without an apical fringe of hairs = 13
13. - Ultimate abdominal sternite with postero-lateral margins rounded, not dentate = 15
15. - Eyes and ocelli greatly enlarged, the eyes removed from posterior margin of head by less than one third their greatest diameter = 16
16. - Wings fuliginous; pubescence of abdominal tergites 3-6 yellowish = megalophthalma
Info about sex relations of the known species, in Table 1:
From page 90, Probable Sex Associations of the Species Known from but one Sex: Females of the species megalophthalma & subhyalina are possibly related to males of arenivaga, arenivaga var. unicolor, nocturna and paranocturna.
Info from the species descriptions:
D. arenivaga was not included in the key, due to the fact that he didn't have enough information on the males at that time; even though the known range for that species includes California and Arizona. However, he did include a short description of the males, in the proposed sub-genus Group Subhyalina, relating them as a possible male representation of the females, described in the sub-genus Group Arenivaga.
From page 108, Subgenus Group Arenivaga: Males unknown, may be represented by the following group-SUBHYALINA.
From page 109, (Non-taxon) Megalophthalma complex, subgenus Group Subhyalina: Males with the eyes and ocelli unusually large; anterior margin of pronotum emarginate medially; first segment of the abdomen nodose; second abdominal sternite without a median pit densely filled with hairs; wings light fuliginous to subhyaline. Possibly the males of the species of the preceding group-ARENIVAGA.

Moved
Moved from Dasymutilla.

Eliminated 2nd chioce!
Based on the ID information that I already posted and a review of my 2nd best choice, Dasymutilla vestita, I'm now confident enough to move him to species level, as a male Dasymutilla arenivaga. Here is a summary and some comparison images:

If you look at these images (below), you can see that the 1st tergite is smooth and shiny. Furthermore, there does not seem to be any large notch or indentation, on the side of it:


Here is another one that looks more like my images, but the size is a bit bigger and there are other slight differences:



On the other hand...
Here are images of a pinned Dasymutilla arenivaga specimens. Note the similarity to a few of my images:
(Arizona)
(California)

Moved
Moved from Velvet Ants.

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

 
Genus Level Confirmed
Ken, Beatriz Moisset was kind enough to post him on Facebook and she received confirmation that this is a member of the genus Dasymutilla. The species level ID is going to be tough, but other people may notice something or post better comparison images of other types. I'm confident enough to move him now and I will continue to film and study this family. Thanks for your help!