Had to share this with you because that’s just the kind of blogger I am! LOL!! Seriously, this horrible thing is beyond belief! Look at the size of it (photo right)! And its name … the tarantula hawk. Lovely.
Unfortunately, it lives on almost every continent and in the US, it has been seen as far north as Logan, UT.
These bugs feed on tarantulas and only the female has the stinger which can grow up to a quarter inch long. Humans have been stung by them on occasion and the pain is so terrible, experts literally recommend you just lie down and scream. The concern is that if you try to blunder off somewhere you’re so unaware of what’s around you that you may wind up in worse shape than you are from the sting.
According to one poor soul who experienced the sting, the excruciating pain lasts for a full five minutes or so, then begins to subside. I’m not sure what happens after that, but I would suspect a trip to the hospital and then maybe a two week stay at a luxury spa just to get over the trauma!
These spider wasps, part of the family Pompilidae, grow to about 2 inches long (5 cm) and are bluish black colored with rusty colored wings. Their legs are long for a wasp species and they have curved claws on the end to make grasping their victims all the easier.
Horror Movie Stars
The reproductive cycle of these wasps is truly chilling. The female stings and paralyzes a tarantula and lays one egg in its abdomen. The wasp larva will hatch and burrow into the tarantula’s abdomen where it starts eating everything in sight, leaving the vital organs for last so as to prolong the life of the tarantula.
Females are produced from fertilized eggs, while males are produced from unfertilized eggs. The wasp larvae eventually mature and leave the tarantula corpse and continue the life cycle elsewhere.
For reasons beyond my understanding, New Mexico chose this wasp as its state bug. Roadrunners eat these tarantula hawks, so maybe the connection is there somehow.
Anyway, I will do my best to avoid them this summer as this is their active season. I advise you to do the same.
Till the next time!