Hello folks who wonder if dentists handing out candy during Halloween can be considered a possible conflict of interest,

The internet is filled with weird, strange and disturbing stuff that someone detached from our culture would find appalling. Yet, as we read, these videos have millions of views. Why are you acting all salty, Karan?

No, I am not, I am simply stating that at one point we emphasize that we should show sympathy and empathy towards others but we end up doing the opposite. If someone is going to shoot themselves in the foot, we should take the first step and empty the bullets from their gun. On the other hand, we have people going gaga over watching people in tears while eating "burn your esophagus hot" wings and following people around who deliberately get stung and bitten with everything moving under the sun and shout expletives into the camera about the intensity of pain they are experiencing.


Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows I just can't help myself from randomly picking up critters who just want to go on with their daily life. That said, I am usually cautious (lol!) about picking up stuff whose temperament I am not aware of or if they could pack quite a punch. Case in point, is the harmless California Lady Beetle which would file a restraining order against me if it could.


So when I spotted this Velvet Ant, I held back my eager fingers from picking it up.

 


These velvet ants are not ants, but solitary wasps. I don't know if evolution has favorites, if it does, this one certainly fits the bill to be one of the most endowed insects in terms of defenses. Apart from being incredibly fast on their feet, these wasps will make a squeaking noise when picked up that sounds like a baby insect crying (how heartless does one have to be to still keep on holding it). In addition, despite looking all fuzzy and soft to touch, their armor is extremely tough and hard to pierce. They use their mandibles (mouthparts) to hold on to its target before taking out their ultimate weapon.

Below is the velvet ant locking its mandible to a twig I used to test its bite.


But if you are concerned about the bite, you have bigger fish to fry. You see, the sting of the velvet ant is among the most painful stings from insects. This is because they use the venom to parasitize other insects. The venom is delivered through a stinger which also functions as an egg-laying organ. Even though the sting is extremely painful for humans, there are no long term effects except an unpleasant Instagram story.







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