What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bee/Wasp (?) from Peru
Location: Coastal Peru
January 6, 2014 6:24 pm
Dear Bugman,
today’s identification request refers to this flying insect from coastal Peru. It was pretty big and I was really in awe of it’s orange antennae and the length of its behind legs. Thank you again for your great help!
Signature: Frank

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Frank,
This is surely a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, and we are relatively certain it is a Tarantula Hawk in the tribe Pepsini.  Many Tarantula Hawks have orange wings, but there are also black winged individuals.  We found a photo that was cached on Ebay that is a Peruvian Tarantula Hawk that looks similar.  Here is another Peruvian Tarantula Hawk on Etsy, but it has black antennae.  Bird Forum has a very similar looking Peruvian Tarantula Hawk tentatively identified as an Elegant Tarantula Hawk,
Pepsis menechma.  Continued research revealed that the Elegant Tarantula Hawk is a North American species that is pictured on BugGuide, but that does not mean it doesn’t range down to South America.  We cannot at this time provide a species identification, but you can be assured that this is a Tarantula Hawk.  Female Tarantula Hawks hunt Tarantulas.  They sting and paralyze the spiders and then bury them after laying a single egg.  The paralyzed Tarantula becomes a stationary, living source of food for the developing larval Tarantula Hawk.  We have several examples in our archives of Tarantula Hawks hunting Tarantulas, and even a photo where the Tarantula Hawk was eaten by the Tarantula, which is what can happen if you insist on hunting predators.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Peru

2 Responses to Tarantula Hawk from Peru

  1. frankth says:

    Thank you bugman,

    the one that was identified on birdforum in 2004 as probably an Elegant Tarantula Hawk was actually photographed at the same spot where I took this picture last year, so this seems to be pretty solid! Thanks again and cheers from Lima!

    • bugman says:

      That photo might be the same species as you the one you captured, but we still have doubts about it being the Elegant Tarantula Hawk.

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