Black-headed Velvet Ant Myrmosa atra (Panzer, 1801)
The name is very misleading, as Myrmosa atra is not an ant at all, but a species of parasitic wasp who's hosts are thought to be various ground-nesting crabonid wasps and halictine bees. Only the females are unwinged and the males can be found sometimes in large numbers, flying low over sparsely vegetated areas in their search for a female. Once a female is located by the male, she is grabbed and the pair take flight whilst mating. Although this is a widesread species over much of the UK, three of these found during survey work on Sherwood Heath SSSI in July 2012, were the first records for the Sherwood Forest area. Females seem to vary in length, between 4mm and 5mm and those found at Sherwood Heath were in scraped areas encouraging Heather re-growth.
Nottinghamshire (VC56) distribution of Myrmosa atra
The records for the Nottinghamshire distribution map are currently provided by the following contributors - Trevor and Dilys Pendleton. Stuart Warrington. The National Trust (Clumber Park invertebrate records).

You can contribute your own records to help us gain an accurate status of this species in Nottinghamshire. Send an Excel spreadsheet of your records via the 'contact us' link at the top of the homepage.

Updated January 2022

copyright Trevor and Dilys Pendleton ( . .
Ants, Bees and Wasps Photo Gallery - Thumbnail version
Ants, Bees and Wasps Photo Gallery - Text version