What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: UK
June 4, 2014 10:24 am
My friend found it on his lampshade. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Signature: Don’t really care.

Tarantula Hawk???

Tarantula Hawk???

Dear Don’t really care,
We thought this resembled a Tarantula Hawk, but we couldn’t figure out why it was sighted in the UK, so we contacted Eric Eaton.  His reply is posted below.  Can you provide any additional details regarding the sighting?  Did your friend recently receive any packages from abroad?

Eric Eaton’s Response
Definitely a pompilid (spider wasp), and it looks like Hemipepsis or Pepsis.  I’d be curious to know the circumstances under which it was found.  It is probably a stowaway in a shipment from the southwest U.S. or Central or South America.
Eric

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

9 Responses to Tarantula Hawk??? In the UK???

  1. Redball says:

    I came across a live one back in 2001, in the north west of England. It was alive, it vibrated vigorously but never could put a name to it. Now I know what it is. There where 2 of us who witnessed this.

  2. Craig Hughes says:

    I have stumbled across this site trying to identify what I have just seen in my garden in Port Talbot, South Wales, UK.

    I wasn’t fast enough to be able to take a photo unfortunately, but judging by pictures here and on other sites it was almost certainly a tarantula hawk.

    Approx 2inches long, dark/black body with bright orange/red wings. I’d never seen one before and have been searching online for pictures and information this evening. It flew infront of me in the garden, landed on the grass and walked into a plastic bucket on the ground. It then flee around the garden quite quickly before if had chance to snap a pic!

    Seems like it’s rare for them to be in the UK.

    • bugman says:

      We do have this posting in our archives of a potential Tarantula Hawk in the UK and Eric Eaton’s speculation “It is probably a stowaway in a shipment from the southwest U.S. or Central or South America.” According to Nature Conservation Imaging: “There are more than 40 species of spider-hunting wasp in Britain, including a new colonist from the continent discovered in 2005. The group is pretty easy to separate from other aculeate Hymenoptera in the field owing to their long hind legs, but many are hard to identify as individual species without recourse to a microscope. Their behaviour is uniformly fascinating and while heathland is one of the best locations in which to see them, they occupy virtually all environments from coasts to gardens.” Many spider wasps have coloration similar to Tarantula Hawks, but we have not had any immediate success in locating any UK images of “2inches long, dark/black body with bright orange/red wings.”

  3. Jim says:

    The main photo above was not taken by a reader in the U.K. it is a photo of Steve backshall holding a tarantula hawk wasp in Mexico whilst filming his series “the deadly sixty”. Just felt the need to point out the Walter Mitty (faker)

  4. Steven Jackson says:

    I was walking home from Central Milton Keynes with my two daughters and partner and this type of wasp flew in front of my face for a few seconds. It had beautiful bright Red wings and had to look on google to see what it was which led me to this page after finding out what it was.

  5. Tazzy says:

    Found one of these flying around my room yesterday. I thought it was a normal wasp till I managed to eventually kill it with fly spray. To my horror I took a good look at it and it was a tarantula wasp. Hopefully the first and only. I live in Newport Isle of Wight

  6. Dawn says:

    Seen today in Newcastle upon Tyne. About in length

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