Mutillidae Projects





Welcome to our project site on Mutillidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera; velvet ants) systematics and evolution. This site is maintained at the Department of Biology, Utah State University, and derives from a collaboration of two scientists begun in 2003. Our ultimate aim is to facilitate further research on the evolution, ecology, and systematics of Mutillidae. The specific goals of this project are to:


  • Develop data sets of phylogenetically informative characters from morphology, ncluding novel characters, and gene sequences, including mitochondrial and nuclear markers primarily for the Nearctic nocturnal mutillids

  • Use phylogenies of nocturnal mutillids to test hypothesized patterns in historical biogeography of the Neartic desert regions and the Mexican highlands.

  • Estimate the ages and diversification rates of various deserticolous lineages

  • Associate the sexes of species known from only a single sex

  • Compile existing keys and develop new keys for the world genera; develop species keys in conjunction with generic revisions

  • Develop web-based identification tools, including electronic images of whole, preserved specimens and key characters




Nearctic Nocturnal Mutillids


Nocturnal Mutillid Survey


Nocturnal Mutillid Systematics


Sample Species Page



Mutillids in General



Mutillid Biology


Keys to the North American Genera


Phoretic Copulation