Damn nature, you scary. Seriously. This thing is known as the cow killer. It looks like an ant, right? Wrong. The red velvet ant (Dasymutilla occidentalis) is the largest velvet ant species and the name is awfully ironic… Since they’re wasps. Both sexes have dense black hair with red-orange on the thorax and abdomen. Females are the scariest because, although wingless, they have a nasty sting. Males, on the other hand, fly around and just do their little wasp thing.
They have a frightening entrance into the world that would (kind of) explain the confusing appearance. Females find immature stages of ground-nesting bees and eat holes through the cocoon. An egg is deposited on the larvae, which eventually turns into a legless grub.. The immature velvet ants then consume the host, going through several larval stages prior to becoming a pupa.