Friday, July 9, 2010

Tarantula Hawk wasp at Ash Meadows

Ecological technician, April Bradshaw, photographed this Tarantula Hawk in a wash along the North Road (towards Longstreet) on June 30. The 2.5 inch wasp was crawling all over a Desert Milkweed plant, eating its nectar and pollen. If you don't know anything about Tarantula Hawks, they are a huge wasp nearly 3 inches in... length that are spider hunters. They feed primarily on tarantulas and trap-door spiders, luring them out of their burrows by probing the spider's silk entrances. The wasp then stings the spider, injecting paralizing venom. Next the wasp drags the victim into a burrow, lays a single egg on it, then seals the entrance. The larva will hatch and feed on the still-live prey and emerge next spring.

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