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Insect and Spider Identification: SOLVED: Challenge... ID Based on Stinger?

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ncaptiva
Fort Myers, FL

January 6, 2013
8:25 PM

Post #9377710

I have a real challenge for all you identification geniuses that peruse this site :) I know it's a long shot, but I figured if anyone could do it, it's the people on this forum. Here's what I know...

You can see the photos, obviously, which were taken through an awesome little magnifier that we have. One is of the actual stinger, which was pretty huge (for a stinger) and the other is what I'm guessing is a bit of exoskeleton perhaps that was left behind with the stinger.

Whatever it was, it stung my dog's foot. NOT the bottom of her foot, as if she stepped on it... the top of her foot, as if it crawled onto her paw and stung her (vicious little jerk). So I would guess that whatever it is, it's aggressive.

Also, it happened after dark/at night, and it happened in Sarasota, FL. I'd guess around 8:30 - 9pm.

Lastly, and this is why I want to know so badly what it is... this particular dog has a "thing" for hunting wasps & hornets. She gets stung on the face & in her mouth all the time as a result of it, and she hardly reacts at all. She's been stung by some pretty nasty looking wasps & whatnot, and hardly flinched. And for the record, she was not messing with/hunting any bugs when this happened.

When this thing stung her tonight, she was literally doing backflips in the yard. Whatever it was, it had to deliver an incredibly painful sting to cause her to react this way.

The site of the sting swelled up into a big knot... smaller than a golf ball, bigger than a marble. (lol, I can't think of anything that's about that size).

It was painful to her until I removed the stinger. After that, she didn't lick much more, and she allowed me to touch it. Before I removed the stinger, she would hardly let anyone touch it.

This is a short-haired dog, and I could just barely see the end of the stinger sticking out through her fur... which amazed me, because it meant the stinger was REALLY long... for a stinger.

Ok so I think that's about all the detail I have. I REALLY hope it's enough for someone to throw some educated guess my way :) I was thinking maybe scorpion or something? I'll leave the guessing up to the experts, though!

Thanks so much everyone!

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ncaptiva
Fort Myers, FL

January 7, 2013
1:06 AM

Post #9377781

Uh, forget what I said about the scorpion (lol). After I thought about it for two seconds, I remembered scorpions don't lose their stingers when they use them.

I'm hoping to get some ideas of what it could've been based on what I *do* know... it's potentially aggressive, likely nocturnal, it loses its stinger when it stings, it's in SW Florida, it delivers a very painful sting stronger than a wasp or bee, it has a long stinger compared to bees/wasps, and it'll cause the site of the sting to swell up pretty big.

I would hope that the fact that it loses its stinger would help to narrow things down a good amount. Any ideas?

Thanks!

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

January 7, 2013
8:13 AM

Post #9378011

Ncaptiva, it is possible that your dog ran afoul of a velvet ant (a wingless wasp) commonly called Cow Killer Ant due to the pain their sting causes.. There are a number of species found in Florida and across the US. They are for the most part not aggressive, but can and will sting if disturbed.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in717

http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/go/399
ncaptiva
Fort Myers, FL

January 8, 2013
2:09 PM

Post #9379318

Thanks for the suggestion.. I considered that, actually. I sure hope that isn't what it was! Although I did think the stingers on those were a good inch or longer. The one in my dog's paw wasn't that long...

Any other ideas?

Thanks!

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

January 8, 2013
4:08 PM

Post #9379449

I did some research and found that the average size of the red velvet ant (wasp) is about 3/4 of an inch...so the stinger would be considerably less than an inch in length. The stinger is concealed at the tip of the abdomen. It was the dog's reaction that made me wonder...some of the accounts I read likened the sting to a series of high voltage electric shocks that come in waves. Most accounts said the sting formed a knot at the site that lasted for quite some time...one professor stating that he had a knot on his thumb for nearly a month.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/13126

http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef442.asp

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