Tarantula Killer

Tarantula Killer is also known as Tarantula Hawk.
It is a large wasp, which captures tarantulas and places them in its nest as food for its young. The spider is paralyzed by a sting. A female wasp finds tarantulas by smell.
Male wasps spend their time perched on tall vegetation looking for females.

I took this photo in Pine Creek area of Red Rocks, Nevada in September 2007.

There are two species of these wasps living in the southwestern US. They are Pepsis formosa and Pepsis thisbe. The two species are difficult to distinguish.
Because of their stingers, very few animals are able to capture and eat Tarantula Killers with the exception of the Roadrunner of course.

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Henryk

Henryk - Sep 30, 2007 4:24 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice photo !

Are they dangerous for humans? Greetings Henryk

Anya Jingle

Anya Jingle - Sep 30, 2007 9:08 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice photo !

That's a good question. No, they are totally non-aggresive towards humans and don't pay any attention to us. They would sting in self defense though if caught and it would be very painful.

tomi

tomi - Sep 30, 2007 5:15 pm - Voted 10/10

great image

and interesting info about tarantulas.
Thanks for posting.
Cheers.
tomi

Anya Jingle

Anya Jingle - Sep 30, 2007 9:06 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: great image

Thank you. When I saw these insects a few years ago I had no idea what they were and I got curious. Now that I know I seem to spot them very often.

Anya Jingle

Anya Jingle - Sep 30, 2007 9:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I'm a fan

Thank you. Ha, ha. I don't mind spiders myself as long as they stay away from me. I wish these wasps were hunting black widow spiders instead though. The tarantulas are pretty harmless.

Anya Jingle

Anya Jingle - Oct 3, 2007 11:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice photo!

Their venom is not dangerous for humans, but getting stung would be painful.
I have been around many of them though and they never bothered me.

Dow Williams

Dow Williams - Oct 3, 2007 4:59 pm - Voted 10/10

???

So Anya, they have the capability to carry a Tarantula? Never seen anything like it....have only seen one Tarantula in the wild so far though...educational photo as always....

Anya Jingle

Anya Jingle - Oct 3, 2007 11:44 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: ???

I was puzzled by them when I first came here also. Yes, they can drag a tarantula, but it is probably not a long distance. I have never actually witnessed this, but I see tarantula killers in our yard often. We used to have tarantulas, but I haven't seen one in a long time.
Out in nature so far I have seen only one tarantula in Red Rocks.

lcarreau

lcarreau - Oct 7, 2007 4:57 pm - Hasn't voted

Interesting entomology...

I've seen a number of tarantula hawks, in the pine forests of central Oregon. They like to make their presence known to humans. I don't know how tarantulas feel about the situation.

Viewing: 1-9 of 9