Animals

Panda Ant Facts You'll Never Forget

Panda ant facts about the insect resembling a panda!
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The Panda ant, Euspinolia militaris as is the scientific name of this wasp, belongs to the Mutillidae family. They are also known as cow-killer insects, however, it's the harvester ant that is dangerous.  These panda ants are relatives of the velvet ants. The common name is panda ant due to the white and black coloration of the insects. These insects are not actually ants but are wasps. This wasp is native to Chilean sclerophyll forests. These insects are ectoparasites of mature larvae or pre-pupa of other insects. The females lay eggs in the host-parasite and the larvae grow inside the host and thus, they do not build their own nests. This process takes place to ensure the chances of survival. They later feed on the tissues of the host eventually killing it. The mature wasp feeds exclusively on nectar and pollen. The mating process is quite interesting as the males carry the female on them and once they are done, put the female down. They mostly live in dry and sandy regions in Chile and tend to live solitary lives in burrows. There exists sexual dimorphism and thus, males are larger than females. Also, females are wingless, unlike the male. This insect is quite small and poses no danger to humans. However, its sting can be painful and lead to minor allergic reactions. The panda ant, Euspinolia militaris as it is known, is prone to predators or specifically anteaters. It is believed that the females lay up to 2000 eggs but still the species is on the verge of extinction. Therefore, this insect is quite gripping to know about and if interested, read on, and also learn about the water beetle and darkling beetle too.

Panda Ant

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Host larva

What do they eat?

N/A

Average litter size?

N/A

How much do they weigh?

N/A

How long are they?

Up to 0.32 in (8 mm)

How tall are they?

0.07-0.11 in (2-3 mm)

What do they look like?

Black and white insects

Skin Type

N/A

What are their main threats?

Ant-Eaters

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them

Coastal regions and deserts

Locations

Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and the Southwestern United States

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Insecta

Scientific Name

Euspinolia militaris

Family

Mutillidae

Genus

Euspinolia

Panda Ant Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a panda ant?

The panda ant, scientific name Euspinolia militaris, is a species of wasp.

What class of animal does a panda ant belong to?

The panda ant belongs to the Insecta class of animals.

How many panda ants are there in the world?

There has been no specific number of total panda ants in the world recorded.

Where does a panda ant live?

Panda ants mostly live in coastal areas and deserts. They are native to Chile.

What is a panda ant's habitat?

The habitat of the panda ant includes mild climate environments with sandy, gravelly soils for digging burrows and thus, are found near coastal areas and deserts.

Who do panda ants live with?

Panda ants tend to live alone and not in colonies.

How long does a panda ant live?

The typical lifespan of these panda ants is two years.

How do they reproduce?

The male panda ant carries the females on the top of its wings during mating. After mating, the females are put down and it crawls into the burrows of bees or other wasps to lay eggs. The larva of these bees and other wasps become host to the growing panda ant larva. The panda ant larva grows in the host larva and feeds on it after hatching, consequently killing it.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the panda ants is Not Evaluated.  

Panda Ant Fun Facts

What do panda ants look like?

There is a white coat covering the panda ant's head except for the eyes. There are black and white spots all over the body. The male panda ants have wings, while the females are wingless and it is easy to differentiate between the male and female by their wings and size as the male panda ants tend to be bigger in size and have wings, unlike the female panda ant which is wingless and smaller in size. These species are up to 0.32 in (8 mm) long and 0.07-0.11 in (2-3 mm) tall.

The panda ant wasp likes to burrow in sandy terrestrial habitats.

How cute are they?

These insects are considered cute because of their color as it has colors similar to that of a panda and hence, the name.  

How do they communicate?

While not much is not about communication, it is believed that both males and females of this insect have a sort of a structure called stridulitrum on the posterior part of the body which is used to make a chirping sound when alarmed.

How big is a panda ant?

This species of the panda ant is not big and if survives, it grows up to up to 0.32 in (8 mm).

How fast can a panda ant run?

Panda ants belong to the group of velvet ants and these velvet ants are known to run at a speed of 0.3 mph (0.5 kmph).  This speed is due to certain muscles in their bodies.

How much does a panda ant weigh?

The weight of these ants is unknown.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female of the species.

What would you call a baby panda ant?

There is no specific name for a baby of this insect. After the eggs hatch, the young are generally called baby panda larva.

What do they eat?

These species are known to exclusively feed on nectar and pollen but when it is in the larva form, it feeds on the host larva. The panda ant diet also includes the tissue of the host larva which eventually kills the host as these species are born inside the host larva.

Are they dangerous?

While these ants are also known as 'cow-killer ants', the stings of these species cannot kill anyone. It's actually one of the harvester ants that can kill a mammal that weighs around two pounds with six stings. However, the sting of the panda ant can be quite painful.

Would they make a good pet?

While it is not a common pet and is restricted geographically, there is not much known about how good these species are as pets but because the panda ant stings can be painful, it might be difficult to keep them as pets.

Did you know...

These wasps have a strong and hard exoskeleton which made it difficult for entomologists to get a steel pin through the specimens. This exoskeleton helps in reducing water loss which is beneficial for these wasps as they live in dry and sandy regions.

The males of these species are larger than the female.

These ants were first found in 1938 in Chile but later this ant and its relative, velvet ants were found in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States.

This wasp is also known as a cow-killer ant, however, actually, it is a type of harvester ant that can kill a two-pound mammal and not the panda ant.

While these wasps are not harmful to humans, they can lead to anaphylactic shock if someone is allergic to toxins.

These wasps undergo holometabolous development with a pupal stage.

The female panda ant is active during the day while the males are nocturnal.

How many eggs can a panda ant lay each year?

The female panda ant can lay up to 2000 eggs, though not a lot of them survive as they are prone to predators that eat young panda ants after they hatch. It becomes easy for the predators to spot them due to their bright colors. Even after laying so many eggs, this wasp is on the verge of extinction.

How painful is a panda ant sting?

The sting of the panda ant can be incredibly painful.

This sting can be treated just like ant bites. The basics of which include cold compressing the swelled part and applying hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and taking some anti-allergic medicine to manage the minor allergic reactions.  

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including paper wasp, or leafcutter ant.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our panda ant coloring pages.

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