These are hard to photograph because they run, run, run.
Habitat: diverse hardwood bottomland forest, just 5mi E of the Mississippi river.
Is this a velvet ant? It does look like a wasp, but I've never seen a velvet ant with an orange thorax and head as well as abdomen.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
Orange County, California
5 July 2013
The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Their common name velvet ant refers to their dense pile of hair which most often is bright scarlet or orange, but may also be black, white, silver, or gold. Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the Chinese giant panda. Their bright colours...