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Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

It’s about that time of year - tarantula mating season! Yesterday we spotted a Tarantula Hawk Wasp at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. The first tarantulas are yet to be spotted – a signal that rain is on the way. As male tarantulas begin to wander in search of a mate, the Tarantula Hawk Wasp is on the prowl, and at 2 inches long, not only are they among the largest in the world, but their venomous sting is said to be the most painful in the world. Those that get bit scream in agony as the venom works through their entire body.

But that doesn’t stop the Naturalist from snapping some shots, putting oneself in danger for the sake of science and education.

In the photo you can see the crime scene SBN founder and executive director Richard Tejeda came across last season. The Tarantula Hawk Wasp was dragging its paralyzed prey to an already prepared burrow. The tarantula hawk wasp then deposits one egg into the tarantula’s abdomen and seals off the burrow. When the babies hatch, they suck on the tarantula’s juices but don’t kill it…. this is crazy weird and gross, but cool!

You can observe Tarantula Hawk Wasps in local open space preserves such as Coyote Valley and Rancho Canada del Oro.

Enjoy the video!

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