Saturday, October 20, 2007

Strange Wildlife



This little stinker was walking down the fence line while we were digging, and I took this picture with my crappy old point-and-shoot no-telephoto lens digital (the only thing that can survive a dig), which means I was pretty close to her.

The notable thing about this skunk is that she had so much white -- almost entirely white along the top. She hardly cared about me; she knew she had the ultimate defense, and unless I had a gun, she was going to be all right.

More about yesterday's digging later, but suffice it to say we also saw her mate -- a bit larger and with a normal skunk pattern.





The other odd creature we found yesterday was this very large orange ant-looking thing. It's the size of a bullet ant, with a pumpkin-orange and black-banded body, and a slightly fuzzy skin tone as I recall. It was completely solitary, which made me think it might be a wingless-wasp ant mimic, but whatever it is, I have never seen one before.

4 comments:

Camera Trap Codger said...

Hey Patrick, you found a velvet ant (family Mutillidae). Its a wingless female you describe, and it's good you didn't mess with it, cuz they can 'rock your world', as they say. There are a lot of species, and they are external parasites of wasps and bees, mostly.

Those whitey skunks show up now and then; any decent museum collection will have a few in their specimen cabinets.

Sounds like you had a good day.

Name: Luisa said...

A female Velvet Ant --- yikes!

Here's a link:
http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/CowKiller.shtml

Matt Mullenix said...

Velvet ant

(http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef442.asp)

AKA "Cow killers"

:-)

PBurns said...

Yep, I just read the decription. Quite a little stinger!!! They sound very much like a .45-caliber "cop-killer bullet" ant. There was a nest of ground bees in a sette just down the wire, and they are apparently parasitic to bees, so it all fits like hand in glove. A pretty little critter though!

Patrick