Mystery Creature revealed – the Panda Ant

This week’s Mystery Creature was cracked in record time by Eco Evolution. It was the Panda ant, did you get it? Here are five facts about this interesting little insect…

photo: Chris Lukhaup
photo: Chris Lukhaup

Five Panda Ant facts….

  • Firstly the Panda Ant is a misnomer, as it is not an ant at all, but a wasp of the family Mutilidae.
  • It is sometimes called the “cow killer” because of the strength of its sting, which, it has been said, can take down an animal the size of a cow.
  • The Panda Ant exhibits sexual dimorphism – the male is a lot bigger than the female and is predominantly nocturnal. The female is more active during the day. It is only the females that are wingless and also only the females that have stingers.
  • Panda ants feed mainly on nectar.
  • Despite the fact that the female lays about 2000 eggs a year the species is considered endangered. The majority of the young ants are eaten by ant eaters. Those that do survive have a typical life span of 2 years.

 

 

nao

Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

7 thoughts on “Mystery Creature revealed – the Panda Ant

  • May 9, 2017 at 5:04 pm
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    I killed two of these in Northern FL…they were red. I didn’t know what they were until I saw this article. Thank God I didn’t try to pick them up. They freaked me out because I had never seen them and they were ‘pretty,” since knowing “pretty” creatures in FL, were poisonous, I stepped on them. They were not so easy to die, I had to really grind my foot into the ground to kill them. Since there are no ant eaters that I have ever seen in Northern FL, maybe these ants will not be so extinct if they have found a home there.

    Reply
    • May 10, 2017 at 11:14 am
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      Glad you knew not to pick it up!

      Reply
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  • October 26, 2014 at 7:18 pm
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    Oh wow, a cow killer, that is some sting. I never heard of such an animal/insect. Where do they live?

    Reply
    • October 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm
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      Not much of a threat to us Tric as they only live in Chile 🙂

      Reply

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