Velvet Ants, Past and Present: A County-Wide Checklist of the Distribution and Diversity of Mutillidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera) in Oklahoma Including Two New State Records, and New Behavioral Observations for Dasymutilla foxi (Cockerell)
Oklahoma has some of the highest recorded diversity of velvet ants (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) in North America, as well as having a correspondingly high diversity of ecosystems and potential velvet ant habitats. Velvet ants are relatively large, conspicuous, parasitic wasps that are potential indicators for studies of habitat quality and change over time. However, little is known about in which habitats these insects live within the state other than their sole presence in Oklahoma. Herein we provide a county checklist and maps of known distributions of Mutillidae species in Oklahoma to provide a baseline for future studies comparing habitats and distributions. Two species collected in the summer of 2013 in Cimarron Co., Dasymutilla foxi (Cockerell) and D. snoworum (Cockerell), were found to be new state records. Data were compiled using direct specimen information, confirmed observations, literature records, and specimens collected in the summer of 2013 by the author(s). Efficacy of past Oklahoma insect and Mutillidae surveys across the state before and after 1950 are investigated. Future county-wide survey work of Oklahoma Mutillidae using citizen science surveys is also discussed.