Friday, October 24, 2014

Tarantula Hawk encounter

Jeanne and I were walking our dogs the other day, just strolling down a dirt road and talking, when we noticed a different looking flying insect sitting in the middle of the road.  We stopped to look at it, and I noticed a little furry thing with legs a few inches from the insect.  A tarantula?  I've never seen one in person before.  I turned the fur ball over, and it's legs moved a little.  Then the insect, which Jeanne thought might be a Tarantula Wasp, walked right over to it and grabbed it in her mouth.  There was no way she was letting us get her tarantula!





She started walking backwards, pulling the spider in her mouth, and she walked backwards quite a ways, for such a little thing, across the rocky road, into the sandy edge.





Then she went down the edge for a little way until she made a right turn up a little hill to the bushes.  She knew exactly where she was going, back to her nest in the ground under a bush.  She dragged the spider up the little incline to the bushes and dragged it inside the bushes and out of sight.





As soon as we were done with our walk we went back to The Palms and Googled Tarantula Spider.  Sure enough, Jeanne was right, that's exactly what it was. After reading about this wasp on-line, I'm not sure I would have gotten so close had I known it was a wasp and has a vicious bite.

As we were sitting in The Palms visiting, Brenda and her dog Mickey came by for a visit, and we told her about our sighting of the wasp.  She said she has a friend who had been bitten by one, and when she saw her, three months later, the bite was still pretty bad looking.  Three months later!  I'm glad the wasp didn't get aggressive with us when we got so close to it and it's tarantula.

Here's what we found on-line about this "tarantula hawk:"

These huge wasps (the largest wasps in the United States - up to two inches long) feed on nectar, but procreate in a particularly morbid fashion (the basis for their name). When a female is ready to lay her eggs, she seeks out a tarantula and injects it with paralyzing venom. She drags the tarantula to a burrow and stuffs it down the hole, then lays her eggs on top of the paralyzed spider. Several days later the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the still living tarantula.

Several species of wasps known as "tarantula hawks" inhabit the deserts of the southwest that build nests in the ground and provide their young with spiders for food. The majority of these wasps have metallic blue bodies with fiery red or orange wings, and long legs ending in hooked claws.

Only a few animals, such as roadrunners, eat tarantula hawk wasps. Tarantula hawk stings are considered to be one of the most painful insect stings in the world (the stinger of a female tarantula hawk can be up to 1/3 inch long). Copied from this website.

Credit for the photos goes to Jeanne, I didn't bring my camera along - DARN - I'm never forgetting it again!!!  You just never know what you'll see on a nice, quiet walk.  LOL  Thanks for sharing, Jeanne!

No other photos to share for today.  I've got to get out more.  LOL

Welcome to our newest Follower, Saunders Fine Arts!  Patrick Saunders does "Modern Photography and Realist Portraiture In Oils," per his website, and has some really nice portraits and other photographs on his site.  Thanks for following along with me and Katie, Patrick - Welcome Aboard!  :)

From me and Katie, have a great Friday, everyone!  :)


6 comments:

  1. I'm glad she was ready to nest rather than attack. Definitely need to keep your distance from that thing.

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  2. Great photos - interesting nature lesson - those wasps look deadly (which they are) lesalp.blogspot.com.au from Australia

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  3. Interesting stuff. Ive seen those wasps quite often but had no idea!

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