Currently viewing the category: "Tarantula Hawks"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what bug is this
Location: San Diego, California
May 28, 2014 9:19 am
While walking to my car yesterday I came across this huge black bug that had a body like an ant with long legs and mulitcolored wings. It was about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. It moved VERY fast on the ground and then at one point flew away. What is this???
Signature: Freaked Out In San Diego

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Freaked Out In San Diego,
This impressive wasp is commonly called a Tarantula Hawk.  Here are some images from our archives of a Tarantula Hawk hunting with its prey.
  The sting of a Tarantula Hawk is reported to be quite painful.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tarantula Hawk Hunting, Looking for Host?
Location:  Red Car Property, Silverlake, Los Angeles, California
May 25, 2014 12:39 pm
Hi Daniel,
I was walking the Red Car Property in Silver Lake this morning and got some photos of a Tarantula Hawk walking a grid pattern 12″ across, 6″ up, the 12″across like she was wither hunting for prey or a host for eggs.  Photos and longer version of story here:
http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/2014/05/red-car-property-tarantula-hawk-another.html
Signature: Diane E

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Diane,
Thanks for informing us about this Tarantula Hawk sighting in nearby Silver Lake.  We have taken the liberty of capturing an image from your posting and linking back to your site, but we were unable to capture the first image for some unknown reason.  Several years ago, our editorial staff observed a large Tarantula Hawk right below the Red Car Property in the Los Angeles River, and just last year, we observed a large Tarantula Hawk at Barnsdell Park.  The behavior you observed might be related to locating prey, or it might have to do with locating an ideal site for a nursery burrow.  As an aside, the new construction on the site of the old Monte Sano Hospital has saddened us.  That plateau was a lovely lookout point, excellent photo location, and perfect lupine habitat.  There is also the loss of endangered native, California Black Walnuts as a result of the construction.

Hi Daniel
Thanks.  We’re hoping the Trust for Public Land acquires the Red Car Property this year to preserve what little Black Walnut Woodland we have left in Silver Lake.  TPL just announced an option on the property.  I’m tired of losing open space to big stucco boxes!
Diane Edwardson

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Weird big bug
Location: Potrerillos, Mendoza Province, Argentina http://goo.gl/maps/zYxOA
March 5, 2014 11:37 am
Hi! I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and while visiting Mendoza we found this weird big bug in the mountain area ( http://goo.gl/maps/zYxOA ). It kind of looks like a hornet, but very passive and apparently more a walker than a flyer.
We asked some locals and it doesn’t seem to be very common (at least not closer to the city area). We took three very clear pictures, as the insect was hardly moving. This is my first submission but I remembered your page (I loved it) and thought of giving it a shot. I hope you can help, and manu thanks in advance!
Signature: Santiago Alvarez

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Santiago,
This magnificent creature is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompillidae, and it is most likely one of the Tarantula Hawks, a group of large Spider Wasps in several genera that prey upon Tarantulas and other large Spiders, including Trapdoor Spiders.  The female is the hunter and the Tarantula Hawk hunts for a Tarantula which she stings and paralyzes.  She then buries the Tarantula after laying an egg on it.  The egg hatches and the wasp larva feeds on the paralyzed Tarantula, eating it while it is still living and helpless, ensuring that the meal will always be fresh meat.  Sometimes a Tarantula Hawk loses its battle with the Tarantula and becomes the prey instead of the predator.  These large, active wasps are sure to attract attention when they flutter their brightly colored wings while running on the ground.  The sting of a female Tarantula Hawk is reported to be quite painful.

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Thanks for the nice and quick reply! It’s great to know!

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: please help identify
Location: Candelon, NW Dominican Republic
March 1, 2014 8:15 am
Hi, This bug appeared in my gazebo recently here in the Dominican Republic. There are many types of bugs here but this is the first time I’ve seen this one. It measures approx 2″.
Our Haitian boys here tell me it’s dangerous an can kill a horse if bitten, but I think (hope !)that is probably an exaggeration. Body appears like black velvet. It seemed to be grazing on the newly painted concrete floor.
Any clue to what it is ?
Signature: Alistair Young

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Dear Alistair,
This magnificent Spider Wasp is commonly called a Tarantula Hawk, but we cannot provide the exact species for you.  Female Tarantula Hawks hunt for Tarantulas, stinging them to paralyze them.  The Tarantula is then buried after the female Tarantula Hawk lays an egg on it.  The still living Tarantula provides a source of fresh meat for the developing larval wasp which feeds on the helpless, Tarantula.

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: Los Padres Nat’l Forest north of Ojai at a campground
july 15, 2013
the tarantula wasp was taken at the same location/date.
c.

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Thank you Clare.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination