Velvet Ant (Dasymutilla aureola), Henry Coe SP, Santa Clara Co., CA - May 2009. Thanks to Kevin Williams from Bug Guide for species ID.
I was told it's common name is Velvet Ant.
Specimen in collection
Dasymutilla sicheliana. Molino Basin, Santa Catalina Mountains, Pima County, Arizona, USA. 18 September 2012.
The velvet ant in the second photograph is a different insect seen later that day. It was more orange in color, smaller and moved more quickly.
The genus Dasymutilla belongs to the Mutillidae family. The females of the genus are well known for their painful sting, which is where many gain their common name, Cow Killer. The female is wingless and often resemble large ants while the males still retain their wings. The larva of the Dasymutilla are external parasites to various types of hymenoptera. When disturbed the Dasymutilla makes a high pictched sque