Currently viewing the category: "spider wasps"
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Subject: Wasp or Beatle?
Location: Covina California
May 21, 2015 6:35 pm
Found this in the backyard crawling into a hole, never seen one before. It’s quite interesting. It really looks like a beetle mixed with a wasp. 05-21-2015
Signature: Joshua

Tarantula Hawk Carnage

Tarantula Hawk Carnage

Dear Joshua,
We are afraid to ask why this Tarantula Hawk is no longer crawling into a hole.  Tarantula Hawks are Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae.  We will be tagging this posting as Unnecessary Carnage.

Tarantula Hawk Carnage

Tarantula Hawk Carnage

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Subject: Another Tarantula Hawk
Location: Van Nuys, CA
May 4, 2015 6:05 pm
I wrote a couple weeks ago and you helped me identify a Tarantula Hawk I had found on my street. I had no photos at the time.
So heres a funny story for you (and a photo): I was visiting friends who live 17 miles away from me and I was telling them about my encounter with the Tarantula Hawk, describing in detail everything from the size to the colors, to how painful supposedly the sting supposedly is. When my friends starting pointing at me and then yelled “it’s right behind you” I of course didn’t believe them. I thought they were paranoid, it was too much like a bad movie. But turned around and yes there it was. We managed to capture and take a photo. We soon found another one, larger wings, seemed more energetic (this one in the photo wasn’t very fast). The white glare on the photo is the glass.
This is the first TH spotting that my friends have encountered at this residence and they had never heard of it before. How common are these? I’ve managed to run across 3 in as many weeks now.
Signature: Ragga

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Ragga,
Your account of conjuring up a Tarantula Hawk from the ether through words is very amusing.  We have never encountered a Tarantula Hawk in Mount Washington, but we have encountered individuals in the Los Angeles River and at Barnsdell Park in Los Angeles.  Most of our sightings have occurred in arid areas outside of the city, and it is our speculation that populations of Tarantula Hawks within urban Los Angeles have dwindled with the loss of critical habitat and the scarcity of a food supply in the form of both Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders.

 

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Subject: huntsman
Location: Perth,Western Australia
April 16, 2015 6:30 am
I just sent you a msg re-paraylised huntsman on my windowsill and didnt have the link to send a photo so here they are.
What can i do with it?

Subject: Huntsman Spider
April 16, 2015 6:02 am
I live in western Australia. Huntsman spiders are common but never really seen in my area, however with the change in weather in the last week i’ve seen 2 being dragged by wasps. One made it back to its nest while the other couldn’t quite get it up the wall into the tiny hole. Now i have a paraylised huntsman sitting on my windowsill and have no idea what to do with it. Can you help?
Signature: zoe

Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider

Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider

Dear Zoe,
Female Spider Wasps in the family Pompilidae sting and paralyze Spiders to feed their young, laying an egg on the paralyzed spider which provides living and fresh (not dead and dried out)
food for the developing larva that eats its still living meal.  Your letter did not indicate why the Spider Wasps left behind the spiders, but we would urge you to not interfere in the future if that is what happened.  It takes tremendous effort for a female Spider Wasp to provide for her brood.  If enough venom was injected into the spider, it will most likely not recover.  We have numerous postings from Australia of Spider Wasps and Huntsman Spider prey.

Hi Daniel, thank you for your reply. My apologies, I had sent 2 different questions the second just contained photo’s. I can promise I didn’t interfere with anything. I seem to have nesting’s of wasps under the house and also in the roof.  The wasp simply gave up trying to pull the huntsman up the wall. It went up and down 3 times, nearly getting there on the 3rd attempt but seemed to give up and left it on the windowsill. I know its pretty much a lost battle for the huntsman and I have left it alone incase the wasp came back but it has not. So I guess my question is what to do with the paralysed but still living spider on my window? What do you suggest?

We would let nature take its course because we are guessing it is on the outside.

Update:  May 14, 2015
Hi Daniel,
I have been in contact with you previously as you can see from the e-mails below with regards to a huntsman spider that was left on my windowsill. The reason I am getting back in contact with you is I need to move it because my son is nearly able to reach the sill and has taken interest in what’s sitting on it. So figuring as its been a month I went to move it and to my surprise our huntsman has flinched its body and its legs. So this is my predicament… I need to move it as my son will soon be able to grab it and probably will do if I’m not looking, and even though it was stung and paralysed by a wasp our huntsman seems to have regained some movement. The poor thing has been sitting there for a month but has shown me (only moments ago) that it has some fight left. What can I do? I would not feel right placing the huntsman just anywhere which is why I am asking for you to help guide me on the best possible solution which may just preserve this ones life should it fully recover. I do want to make clear also that I never interfere with nature and its way of life but certain situations like this sometimes need a little helping hand however big or small.
I would really appreciate it if you could advise me on the best place to put him, I am simply not going to just throw him in the bin or out on the lawn.
Many thanks in advance, I look forward to your reply
Kind Regards
Zoe Delaney

Hi Zoe,
We would suggest a sheltered location outdoors, perhaps under an overturned flower pot or some other place that will offer some protection from predators and the elements.

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Subject: Insect identification South Africa
Location: wellington, western cape, South Africa
January 30, 2015 12:16 am
Hi there, we found this insect on the farm that we live on in the western cape. It appears that he kills spiders larger than himself and then carries them away to eat. He has very long legs. Please could you help identify him?
Signature: Jody

Spider Wasp

Spider Wasp

Dear Jody,
This is a rather distant view is of a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and there are several Australian relatives that look very similar.  We believe this may be a member of the genus
Hemipepsis based on this image on iSpot.  In North America, the genus members are called Tarantula Hawks.  Your interpretation of the natural drama you witnessed is not correct.  The female Tarantula Hawk does the hunting.  Both she and her mate visit blossoms for nectar, and the high sugar content gives them energy to mate and provide for their young.  All provisions are the responsibility of the female, who hunts large spiders, including Trapdoor Spiders and Wolf Spiders as well as Huntsman Spiders and Tarantulas.  The Spider Wasp stings and paralyzes the spider, and then drags it back to the burrow where a single egg is laid on the spider.  Since the spider is paralyzed and not dead, the meat stays fresh while the wormlike Wasp Larva eats first nonessential muscles before turning to the vital organs, eating the spider alive.

Thank you so much, Daniel!  That is most fascinating!  I really appreciate you getting back to me and sharing your knowledge with me!
Best regards,
Jody

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Subject: Mystery wasp
Location: Cuba
January 5, 2015 10:24 am
I took these photos of this spectacular-looking insect in Cuba on December 11th last year. It was big – I suppose around 4 inches long.
Having done a lot of searching on the net, I have not found any photos of an insect exactly like this one. It resembles pictures of tarantula wasps, but none of the others I’ve seen have the same colouring or the segmented yellow antennae. I did discover that there are tarantula wasp mimics, so perhaps this bug is a mimic?
I hope you can help me.
Thanks in advance
Signature: Mary

Spider Wasp, Probably Tarantula Hawk

Spider Wasp, Probably Tarantula Hawk

Dear Mary,
This is a gorgeous Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and it could well be a species of Tarantula Hawk.
  Your individual looks very similar to Pepsis menechma which is pictured on BugGuide.  In 2006, we posted this image of a Cuban Tarantula Hawk, but alas, it does not show the antennae.  We are postdating your submission to go live during our absence from the office next week.

Most likely Tarantula Hawk

Most likely Tarantula Hawk

Ah yes, I did see the dried-up bug photo and wondered if it had looked like mine when alive. You’re right my blue bug was gorgeous and I was very lucky to see it on my last morning before leaving to fly back to England.
Many thanks for your help, Daniel.
Mary

Spider Wasp, most likely Tarantula Hawk

Spider Wasp, most likely Tarantula Hawk

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Subject: Wasp and it’s eight legged prey
Location: Mooroolbark, Victoria, Australia
December 18, 2014 1:11 am
Hi,
I saw this wasp yesterday (December 18) and as you can see it has caught a spider, and quite a large one. The wasp itself was about an inch long maybe (as you can see in the pics it’s about half the height of a standard house brick).
I didn’t see the initial attack, but was walking by and saw it dragging the spider by its face (do spiders even have “faces”? haha) through the leaf litter by the side of the house. I watched it drag the spider at least 5 meters to the front of the house where it then hauled it up the wall with apparent ease (the first picture) and pulled it into the gap in the bricks as demonstrated in the last picture.
I found the whole thing quite amazing. It was like watching a documentary :)
I would love to know what kind of wasp this is. Pity I couldn’t get better pictures, but hopefully they’re enough to identify this awesome wasp.
I was also wondering a few things about the spider. If that spider was on my bedroom wall, I would call it a “Huntsman” but I don’t know it’s actual name. Was the spider going to end up as the wasps meal, or was the spider going to have eggs laid in it, so they can hatch and consume the spider alive? Is that even something wasps do or am I just being creative? Haha
Thanks
I’m wondering if the spider is for food, or whether it’s for the wasp to deposit eggs into.
Signature: Matt P

Spider Wasp preys upon Huntsman Spider

Spider Wasp preys upon Huntsman Spider

Dear Matt,
We have no shortage of Australian Spider Wasps with their Huntsman Spider (yes your ID on the spider is correct) prey on our site, most likely because they are a common Australian summer sighting that corresponds to the dearth of interesting North American sightings of our northern winter.  You are also correct that the female Spider Wasp will lay an egg on the Huntsman Spider which will provide a fresh meal for the developing Spider Wasp larva as it feeds on the still living but paralyzed Huntsman Spider.  We believe the Spider Wasp is
Cryptocheilus bicolor.  Spider Wasps will frequently climb a wall or fence dragging the Huntsman Spider so they can glide with the prey as it would be too difficult to take off from the ground with such a heavy load.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination