Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Desert Creatures - Tarantula Hawks

Saturday I learned about the tarantula hawk which is actually a wasp - a spider wasp to be exact. We were up on our land watering some bushes around our building site and the water attracted them.  At first glance we thought they were dragon flies, but quickly realized they were too large and strange looking to be dragon flies. I had read about the tarantula wasp somewhere and thought that was what they were so when we got back to the house I researched online. Yes, they are indeed tarantula wasps. Tarantula wasps hunt and kill tarantulas and other large spiders. They lay their eggs in the spider's carcass and use it to nourish there young. All I can say is yuck. They don't look scary, but they apparently have one of the most painful insect stings around. Thankfully they are not aggressive. Here is what wikipedia has to say about that: 

"However the sting, particularly of Pepsis formosa, is among the most painful of any insect, though the intense pain only lasts for about 3 minutes.[3]Commenting on his own experience, Justin Schmidt described the pain as "…immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one's ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream."

It goes without saying that I will be watching out for these guys. Here is a photo from Wikipedia. Oh and one just flew by as I sit outside on our porch writing this...

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