Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 6:42 AM
Location: South Africa, Western Cape, Near Malmesbury (Swartland, West Coast)
Weather: 38 Degrees Celsius in the shade, 44 in the sun. No wind. No clouds.
Looks: It has the typical wasp body, only much more bulky as opposed to slender, its really HUGE! Probably 5-6cm when straight. The whole body is black. The tentacles (or radars, what ever it might be called) are dark orange about 1mm thick and spirals once. The eyes are about 3mm wide. The wings and legs are also the same dark orange as the tentacles. The stinger, when pushed out fully is probably about 8mm long, very thin and curves slightly (it looks as it might be a very painful sting). The wasp did seem kind of clumsy. It made a lot of noise when flying. Wingspan, probably about 3.5-4cm. That’s it, I think.
I’ve lived in the western cape and have never seen a WASP come even close to the size of this big boy.
South Africa, West Coast
This is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a North American Tarantula Hawk in the genus Pepsis. According to Wikipedia, there are Tarantula Hawks in Africa. The sting of a female Tarantula Hawk is reported to be one of the most painful of all wasp stings.