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Tarantula Hawk


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Jan 2, 2007
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Cali, Colombia
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In the Pepsis or Hemipepsis genus this is the wasp that parasitizes my tarantulas. It's sting is considered the second most painful on the Shmidt pain index. My mayordomo (caretaker) is pretty cavalier about scorpions even picking them up by the tail sometimes but he is extremely chary of this wasp. The venom of the sting is specifically designed to paralyze tarantulas. The wasp stings one which is immediately paralyzed but alive. Then the wasp drags it to a hole, deposits it and lays a single egg on top. When the egg hatches it eats the spider avoiding vital organs to keep it alive as long as possible. Fortunately for us they are very docile and don't attack readily. It's not a great photo as I was walking with my telephoto but surely you'll find the story charming.

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Interesting insect. Thanks for the description.

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That's a horror story. Cool photo.

Great photo - a tricky subject to photo they seem very scared of people despite their sting.
Nice shot. It's that little element of danger that can make photography a little more exciting, for the photographer and the viewer.

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