Metallic Brown Spider Wasp


Family Mutillidae - Velvet Ants

Order Hymenoptera

This page contains pictures and information about Velvet Ants in Mutillidae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia. 

Wasps in this Mutillidae family are from small to medium in size. They are usually heavily sclerotised, hairy and with metallic in colours. Their eyes are round and prominent. Males are winged and look very different from females. Females are wingless and ant-like, but can be distinguished by their curled antenna and hairy body. Larvae parasite on other wasp, bee or ant nest in soil under ground. 
Females are sometimes found on sandy ground waiting for the males or searching for host's nest. Males are also be seen on low plants waiting for the emerging of the females.
Currently most species found in Australia are placed in  genus Ephutomorpha.  

Red Velvet Ant
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Acetotilla sp, female, body length 12mm               Male, body length 15mm 
Male and female of Velvet Ant look quite different. This winged male is black in colour. The wingless female is velvet in colour with body coarsely punctated. In mid-summer Karawatha Forest on a sandy footpath. We saw a female Velvet Ant walking slowly with abdomen tip pointing upward. Then a winged black wasp appeared and mated with the female Velvet Ant. More information can be found in this page.
Black Velvet Ant
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Bothriomutilla sp., female, body length 10mm
This Velvet Ant is black in colour. Female Velvet Ants are sometimes found on sandy ground searching for host's nest. Their larvae parasite on other wasp, bee or ant nest in soil under ground. Please check this page for more information.
Golden Velvet Ant
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Bothriomutilla sp. female 
Picture was taken on March 2008 in Mt Coot-tha. Please check this page for more information.
Red Mutillid Wasp
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? sp., male, body length 10mm
Picture were taken near Tingalpa Creek in Brisbane Koala Bushlands on Nov 2011. Please check this page for more information.
Black Mutillid Wasp
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Ephutomorpha sp., male, body length 20mm
We took those photos in Mt Nebo rainforest during mid summer. It has the hairy legs and body. Please also visit this page above this wasp.
Golden Mutillid Wasp
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? sp., male, body length 10mm
Pictures were taken in Ford Road Conservation Area on Jan 2009. Please check this page for more information.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 976.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p295.
3. What wasp is that? - An interactive identification guide to the Australasian families of Hymenoptera, 2007.
4. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.

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Last updated: July 15, 2012.