Tarantula Hawk

Tarantulahawk

Apologies to any arachnophobes, but last night I was lucky enough to run across a really gruesome bit of nature I had to share. We often spot Tarantula Hawks flying around, but I’d never seen how they got their name. They’re enormous wasps, several inches long, and the adults live on nectar. They’ve worked out an ingenious business plan for feeding their larvae:

1- First hunt down a wandering Tarantula.
2- Paralyze it with your venom.
3- Dig a hole, shove the spider into it, and lay an egg inside its body.
4- Cover up the hole.
5- The larva hatches, first sucks all the juices from the still-living spider, and then eats it from the inside, saving the vital organs until last so it stays alive and fresh as long as possible.

The photo is from a wasp we came across that had just paralyzed its victim, and was getting ready to drag it to its lair. How cool is that?!

Tarantulahawk2

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