Entomology (Study of Bugs)/What are these?

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Question
Evil cricket?
Evil cricket?  

Fuzzy ant
Fuzzy ant  
Can you please tell me what these are?  The first looks sort of like a cricket, but the antennae are different and the body looks kind of like a striped shell.  The second looked like a spider, but when zoomed in the photo, it looks like a fuzzy ant, but doesn't exactly match any I found on the internet.

Answer
Dana:

Ok, your "evil cricket" is a longhorned beetle, family Cerambycidae, probably a species in the genus Neoclytus .  Many species in that genus are wasp mimics, but they have enlarged hind legs.  Could have emerged from stored firewood, as the larval stage bores in dead, dying, or severely weakened trees.

The "fuzzy ant" is actually a wingless female wasp known as a "velvet ant," family Mutillidae, and genus Dasymutilla .  The specimen in your image is severely worn, usually they are fuzzy all over.  Be careful, these wasps pack a very potent sting.  They are parasites, in the larval stage, of other solitary wasps.

Thanks for sharing your discoveries.

Sincerely,

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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