The (disguised) animal of the day

© Chris Lukhaup


Name : Euspinolia miliaris commonly called Panda ant.

Habitat : The Panda ant was found in Chile, discovered in the Elqui Valley, belonging to the Coquimbo Region. This insect lives in pine forests.

Size : The Panda ant, E. militaris is 8 to12 mm long.

Way of life : This species is very rare. So, except some lucky ones, very few scientists were able to observe it. This explains the small amount of information about it. Although it’s difficult to observe, these are very strong and have shown the ability to retain water and easily invade nests of their preys.
These “ants” live for about 2 years and can lay up to 2000 eggs.


As we have just said, little information is available concerning Euspinolia militaris. However, one piece of information is essential : this « Panda ant » is no ant at all. Indeed, this fake ant is in fact a wingless (for females) and hairy wasp !
Incredible, isn’t it ?

The specimens of the species in black and white get their name from the coloration of their shaggy hairs similar to those of the giant panda. The bright colors of these apterous wasps also serve as an aposematic signal.

Even more surprising, this wasp seems to be harmless but is in fact, a predatory arthropod shaped for confrontation, it possesses a hard and advanced exoskeleton and also a long and maneuverable stinger. They are for these reasons known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name of “Cow Killer”.

They can also be, in their youthful state, ectoparasites of other insects.

Written by Romane RAHIR
Translated by Rim KAIS

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