Subject: What is this???
Location: Lake Havasu, Arizona
June 15, 2012 4:26 pm
Can you please tell me what kind of bug this is?
Signature: -Lene Cover

Tarantula Hawk

Hi Lene,
This is a Tarantula Hawk, a large species of Spider Wasp that preys upon Tarantulas to feed its brood.  The female is the hunter and only the female stings.  Males are perfectly harmless, but females are reported to have one of the most painful stings of any insect.  You will be comforted to know that they are not aggressive toward humans, but they should not be handled.  We believe this is a male Tarantula Hawk.  The females often have curled antennae.  There is an entertaining account of Tarantula Hawks on Jack Elliott’s Santa Barbara Adventure.

Wow!!! Thank you so much for the reply! I attempted to kill this thing while on vacation in Havasu, AZ but it spooked me when it started trying to fly and I ran away! Even though it is probably a male and harmless, I am sure glad I got away from it. Thank you again for getting back to me, I appreciate it!

Hi again Lené,
Please take our advice in this matter.  Do not ever try to kill a Tarantula Hawk as it will surely provoke a sting.
  You don’t want to mess with a Tarantula Hawk.  We are not certain this is a male since female Tarantula Hawks can straighten their antennae.  It does not appear that this individual has a stinger, a modification of the ovipositor which males do not possess, but we cannot be sure.

Location: Arizona

One Response to Tarantula Hawk

  1. Albert Canales says:

    We just caught one of these tarantula hawks at my mom’s Ranch in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas . We followed it while it was flying around and then we noticed it went in a hole in the ground . We flushed it out of a tarantula hole and then caught it in a small container. We are going to add it to my boy’s bug collection . It is a very pretty wasp with nice color.

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