Here we are at the middle of another week and I have another cool animal for us to study. Now I know most of you don’t care for insects but I think you will really like this one. Especially since the Tarantula Hawk may be beneficial to the people that are petrified of spiders but we will discuss that a little later on. By now you have probably figured out that the Tarantula Hawk is not actually a bird but a spider wasp. We will not have to travel far to observe these interesting insects since they are pretty much found worldwide, including Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa and of course the Americas. So, open the front door and see if you can spot one from your doorstep.
You can probably guess how the Tarantula Hawk is a friend of arachnophobes everywhere. Yes, these large wasps will hunt down the large, creepy spiders for her larvae. That’s right, the female wasp will capture, sting and paralyze the helpless Tarantula before the caring mother drags the heavy spider body back to her burrow or specially prepared nest. Once she gets it home, she will lay a single egg in the spiders body. Okay, this is the really gross part…. once the egg hatches, the larvae will bust through the abdomen and land in the stomach to start feeding.
This clever little larvae will try to avoid the major organs so the spider stays fresh. After a few weeks of this, the larvae will turn into an adult and proceed to the real world by ripping through the stomach of the poor tarantula. I never thought I would feel bad for a huge spider, but I kinda do. What a horrible way for your life to end. Just so you know, the male Tarantula Hawk is much nicer and doesn’t actually hunt. Instead, these peaceful guys just feed on the flowers of milkweeds and other plants.
Tarantula Hawk Fast Fact – This wasp is fairly docile and will not sting unless provoked. With that said, I would highly recommend not provoking this giant wasp. Their sting will cause excruciating pain for about 3 minutes and has been rated near the top of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. In fact, the only other animal with a more painful sting is the bullet ant. Again, I think not provoking the Tarantula Hawk should be right up there with not tugging on Superman’s cape or pulling the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger.
That does it for another Wild Fact. Have a great day and I will see you tomorrow.