Mutilla barbara- Velvet Ant- Croatia

Velvet and is a wingless wasp

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 giant panda. Their bright colours serve as aposematic signals. They are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant. Unlike real ants, they do not have drones, workers, and queens. However, velvet ants do exhibit haplodiploid sex determination similar to other members of the Hymenoptera, including the Vespoidea.

Myrmica rubra (lode walk)

Locally common all over the British Isles. It occurs in almost all of Europe and Palaearctic Asia.

Status (in Britain only)
Common. The species is not regarded as scarce or threatened.

Prefers sunny, warm, damp habitats such as meadows and river banks but found in most open urban and agricultural areas, woodland edges, parks and gardens. Rarely found in hot, dry, sparsely vegatated areas.

Flight period
Nuptial flights usually occur during August and September.

Foraging behaviour
They feed on honeydew from aphids and scale insects and drink nectar from flowers. They are aggressive and sting freely.

Nesting biology
Nests are in the ground, in tufts of grass, under stones and in rotten wood. Colonies are usually polygynous with an average of 15 queens and a thousand workers or more…. BWARS