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

Subject: tarantula hawk?
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
June 15, 2013 2:25 pm
Hi!
I took the first picture (Foto-0093.jpg) but I didn’t have a high quality camera at the moment. I’ve been curious about what kind of insect is this, so I’ve been trying to look it up on the internet but haven’t been successful.
The description I can give about the bug I saw is that it is black, long (I think about 5 to 7 centimeters), six long legs (wich made the insect look bigger when it flew), and it’s wings and antennae were notoriously orange.
The second picture is from Mauricio Valverde. (2010). Utopia, Magazine & Travel Guide. Retrived from
http://www.revistautopia.com/Insectos-de-Monteverde.aspx,
This picture is the most look-a-like I found for the insect I saw but I can’t tell if it is the same. May be it is.
While surfing in the internet, giving my description I found an insect called tarantula hawk, but this one is a wasp and I don’t think the insect I saw looked like a wasp. But again, may be I’m wrong and it is a tarantula hawk. I just want to be sure.
Signature: someone curious

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Based on your photo and description, we agree that this is a Tarantula Hawk, a spider wasp in the family Pompilidae.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California
March 14, 2013 2:05 pm
Hello,
A few months ago I found this bug against the glass doors in my house. I have been wondering for so long what it was and I’m finally trying to find out. It moved pretty slowly and didn’t seem to fly because it walked all the way across our patio. I asked my parents and no one knows. Please help! I used to live in Point Loma, San Diego, California and never saw it but as soon as I moved north to Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California I saw it.
Signature: From Lindsey

Tarantula Hawk

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Lindsey,
This magnificent Spider Wasp is a Tarantula Hawk.  The female is reported to have an extremely painful sting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Blue wasp?
Location: El Paso, TX, USA; desertic zone
January 17, 2013 12:38 am
Hello, Bugman!
My name is Hector, and I encountered this interesting site few days ago when people in a famous forum were discussing a video of a parasitic worm getting out of a dead spider; freaky stuff.
Anyway, upon finding this site, I come to you with a request:
Last year, my mother told me about a curious thing she found outside, in my patio. Laying dead on a flower pot, was this insect, what appear to be a wasp. A dark electric blue wasp with oxide orange wings (I’m attaching 3 photos; I apologize with its current appearance, it laid dead on the pot for 3 days before coming inside (y’know, women)).
I found it during the spring wind storm season, mid-April or so.
I’ll be very thankful if you provide with information about this specimen.
Keep up this thing you do! Thanks for the site! 😀
Signature: Hector

Tarantula Hawk

Hello Hector,
We want to begin by complimenting you on the excellent photographs.  Since the wasp was not alive and moving, you were able to take advantage of the situation and “pose” the specimen.  You have excellent focus, depth of field and clarity.  The simple background and absence of shadows due to the flat lighting is very professional.  This is a Tarantula Hawk, one of a group of large spider wasps that preys upon Tarantulas.  Though your photos are exceptional, we prefer images of living Tarantula Hawks.  Female Tarantula Hawks which possess the stingers hunt for Tarantulas and sting them to paralyze them.  They then drag them to a suitable location for an underground burrow, bury the still living but paralyzed Tarantula, and lay an egg.  The larva that hatches will feed upon the living but helpless Tarantula.  The sting of a female Tarantula Hawk is reported to be extremely painful.  Adult Tarantula Hawks are frequently found nectaring on flowers, especially milkweed.

Tarantula Hawk

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Browsing My Photos
Location:  SLO County, California
January 10, 2013
san luis obispo county.
july 2005.
lots of lovelies at and near our house in paso robles!
you should come up one of these days.
have you seen the view?
Clare Marter Kenyon

Tarantula Hawk on Narrow-Leafed Milkweed

Thank you so much CLare,
This is a gorgeous photo that illustrates the importance of food plants to perpetuate animal species.  The Milkweed Meadow supports amazing ecosystems.  The complexity of the web of life surrounding the Tarantula Hawk is astounding since it is so particular about its diet, especially that of the larvae.  We once posted this photo of the danger of preying upon a predator.  We here at What’s That Bug? have seen a Tarantula Hawk in the Los Angeles River Bed in August several years ago, but never one in Mount Washington.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: San Diego
Location: San Diego, 92131
November 6, 2012 2:38 pm
Is this a wasp? An ant?
Signature: Peter

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Peter,
The Tarantula Hawk is a large wasp that preys upon Tarantulas.  The are much more impressive alive than they are dead.  The sting of a female Tarantula Hawk is reported to be quite painful, however, they are not aggressive towards people, but they will sting if provoked or carelessly handled.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big black bug
Location: Northern (lower) San Pedro River, Cochise County, AZ
June 23, 2012 3:01 pm
Do you have any ideas what this thing is? I’d love to know. I saw it along a wet section of the lower San Pedro River in Cochise County in southern Arizona at around 9:00am on 6/16/12. It was on the edge of the water, moving around a bit from plant to plant but otherwise not doing very much of anything.
Thanks very much!
Signature: LIsa in AZ

Tarantula Hawk: Yes or No???

Hi Lisa,
We do not want to go too far on our identification until we have confirmation or correction from Eric Eaton.  We believe this might be a Tarantula Hawk,
Pepsis mexicana, which we found on BugGuide.

Possibly Pepsis mexicana

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
Yes, either Pepsis grossa (if gigantic), or Pepsis mexicana (if much smaller).
Eric

Hi Daniel-
I hope this email actually gets to you!  We certainly have Tarantula Hawks where I live, but I thought they always have orange wings.  Is that not true then?
Thanks very much!
Lisa

Hi again Lisa,
We are forwarding Eric Eaton’s confirmation.  You can see from the photos of
Pepsis grossa and Pepsis mexicana from BugGuide that there are all black Tarantula Hawks, though orange wings and often orange antennae are the more common and aposomatic coloration for the genus.  BugGuide also notes that Pepsis grossa is:  “Very large, with two color forms: Orange-winged (xanthic) and black-winged (melanic). The two color forms are not often seen in the same locality. Melanic forms are easily confused with Pepsis mexicana, but that species is always much smaller in size than P. grossa.” 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination