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Tarantula Hawk Wasp | by desertdutchman
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Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Happy Halloween. This is perhaps the most scary photo I could find (tells you what kind of guy I am!).


Taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. This wasp (about 2 inches - 7cm long) was difficult to photograph because it didn't stay sill for more than a second in any one position.


From Wikipedia:

Tarantula hawks prefer female tarantulas and seek them in their burrows. They capture, sting, and paralyze the spider. Next they either drag the spider back into her own burrow or transport their prey to a specially prepared nest where a single egg is laid on the spider’s body, and the entrance is covered. The wasp larva, upon hatching, begins to suck the juices from the still-living spider. After the larva grows a bit, it plunges into the spider's body and feeds voraciously, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible to keep it fresh. The adult wasp emerges from the nest to continue the life cycle. Tarantula hawks are "nectarivorous." The consumption of fermented fruit sometimes intoxicates them to the point that flight becomes difficult.

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Taken on October 4, 2008