Monday, August 1, 2005

TARANTULA HAWK (wasp)

   

After a little research I found out the name of this little beauty.  It is the tarantula hawk.  I was correct to be wary of it, the bright orange wings are aposematic coloration which is nature's warning system to alert potential predators that it is dangerous.  In fact, it is so dangerous that it is reputed to having the most painful insect sting in the United States and Mexico!  So why is it called the tarantula hawk?  The females will actually sting a tarantula to paralyze it, drag it into a burrow, lay a single egg in or on the spider, then seal the burrow.  The egg hatches in a couple of days and the larva will feed on the paralyzed but live tarantula until it is ready to pupate and transform into a wasp (about 30 days later).  The spider is usual dead by that time.  Fortunatly for me, these wasps are not aggressive and were only interested in feeding on the flower nectar while I was taking these pictures.  That first shot doesn't do the wasp justice.  Its body was a jet black that shone midnight blue in the sunlight. Needless to say these will probably be the last shots I ever take of the tarantula hawk!

10 comments:

joolsinwa said...

What and interesting science lesson! LOL thanks!
~Julie

rap4143 said...

It's fun learning about and as always outstanding photos.
Betty

mtrib2 said...

It is great that you have done the research to give meaning to the insect.  I learn so much through the journals.  Thanks for the enjoyable information.   mark
http://journals.aol.com/mtrib2/MarksDailyJournal

nuyabeniss said...

I love your pictures! It never seems to amaze me the shots you have waiting for me when I breeze through your journal! Can't wait to see more! Brandi

sylviam4000 said...

This is better than being on Safari - looks like "Crocodile Dundee" has some opposition lol.
Sylvia

labdancer51 said...

Wow, that is one scary wasp!  :-)

Sandra xxxx

sepintx said...

Gasp. There is something that looks like it here. All wasps give me the spooks.

rjet33 said...

I have been stung several times by regular wasps.  It is NO fun.  I will let you keep those there!!!!  Hee Hee!

kokoapuffy1 said...

I haven't seen one of these in years. They are amazing creatures.

tc01hm said...

Love the wasps. Pete, my Lab, stepped on one and the stinger caused an abcess that took 1 month of antibiotics to clear. They aren't agressive but can sure cause a problem if you get stung!
Tess

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