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Monday, August 08, 2005

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Someone asked if I could help to identify a wasp which they found in their garden. The coloring was interesting in that it was completely black except for the wings, which were red. The wasp was approximately an inch and a half long and the wasp body was approximately half an inch wide.

After searching various wasp sources I had come to the conclusion that this was probably a member of the Scoliid Wasp family, as they are found in numerous colorings, including a similar color to this wasp in question.

Having just reached this conclusion I just happened to read an article about the official State Insect of New Mexico, where the question was sent from, and realised that the State Insect matched the description perfectly. The New Mexico State Insect is the Tarantula Hawk Wasp and, as its name implies, it does actually prey on Tarantula spiders.

Here are some images from Google that show what a Tarantula Hawk Wasp looks like:

Google Images

Many people have stated that they believe that the Tarantula Hawk Wasp has the most painful sting of any insect in north America, so if you see one it's best to keep your distance. The males are fiercely territorial and will defend areas which provide a good view of the surrounding area as they use these high vantage points for spotting females during mating time.

Similar to the Cicada Kller Wasp, the Tarantula Hawk stings its prey in order to paralize it and then either feeds on it immediately or carries the Tarantula back to a burrow where it lays a single egg upon the spider before sealing the incubation chamber. When the egg hatches the grub will feed off the Tarantula as its first meal.

Have you ever seen a Tarantula Hawk Wasp?

What a fascinating creature, if you have any comments please let me know and if you have any other questions which you'd like me to answer for free please send them to Ben Dash at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok that was interesting

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you have anything about turtles?

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok im not being mean but if you wana good web site you should britghen it up and try and get intersting information i really like your web site but i cant see much to look at on it find something intersting that people would love to look at

12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why didnt my comment come up?

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why did you put that up you web site is not intersting im checking your site tomorrow please put something intersting up!

12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was ever so interesting!

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooooooookkkkkkkkk that was good

8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay so yeah. good info.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was really odd that info about the tarantula hawk was.But I saw a picture of somebody holding one.So they must not be very smart I think.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was really odd that info about the tarantula hawk wasp.But I saw a picture of somebody holding one.So they must not be very smart I think.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is summer here in Ohio and I live near one of the largest greenhouses in the nation. I used to work there and we would get strange insects off the clippings from plants in Mexico. On Monday, I saw a blue wasp with orange wings carrying off a wolf spider. Poor wasp won't make it to summer, but I'm sure it is this tarantula spider and it had to come from the flowers we got from the greenhouse.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, I left the last comment, it won't make it through winter to next summer.

9:50 AM  

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