One of the most frightening flying insects is the Tarantula Hawk. These are the large dark bodied wasps with orange colored wings. There are two species, Pepsis formosa and Pepsis thisbe. They can grow up to two inches long.
Tarantulas are their main prey. The female hunts the spider so her young can feed on it while in the larva stage. The wasp attacks the spider by grabbing a leg and flipping it over and stinging the abdomen or by attacking from the side. Once stung, the spider is paralyzed for the rest of its short life. The spider is then dragged into the wasps burrow and an egg is deposited on the abdomen of the spider. The wasp then seals the burrow. When the egg hatches the larva consumes the spider.
The Tarantula Hawk has very few predators. One is the roadrunner.
The sting of the wasp is very painful but usually not lethal. On a pain scale of 1-4 the sting rates a 4.
Scientists believe the sting is so painful because of the solitary nature of the wasp. It does not have the luxury of safety in numbers.
Give these fliers room and explore your world. You will find something fascinating!
Boise City News