Flying Bug on Yarrow
Location: Austin, TX
April 30, 2011 6:59 pm
This bug was found at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX – I believe the flower that it’s visiting is called yarrow. Taken on April 26, 2011.
Signature: Jennifer H
Ladybird is our favorite first lady because of her campaign to beautify America by planting trees and shrubs. This magnificent Spider Wasp is a Tarantula Hawk, a member of several genera that hunt Tarantulas to feed to their young. The female Tarantula locates a Tarantula and stings it which paralyzes the Tarantula, but does not kill it. The female Tarantula Hawk then buries the spider after laying an egg. The larva of the wasp then feeds on the living but paralyzed Tarantula which ensures the meat is fresh. The vital organs are eaten last. The sting of a Tarantula Hawk is reported to be quite painful. Only the female stings. These large distinctive wasps, generally with black bodies and red wings, are frequently seen taking nectar from flowers including milkweed. You can find more information about Tarantula Hawks on BugGuide.