Monday, August 8, 2011

Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Male Tarantula Hawk Wasp
Female dragging its prey back to the below location

The female tarantula hawk captures, stings, and paralyzes the spider, then either drags her prey back into her own
burrow or transports it to a specially prepared nest, where a single egg is laid on the spider’s body, and the
entrance is covered. When the wasp larva hatches, it rips a small hole in the spider's abdomen, then plunges into
the spider's belly and feeds voraciously, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible to keep it fresh. After
several weeks, the larva pupates. Finally, the wasp becomes an adult, and tears open the spider's belly to get out.
The wasp emerges from the nest to continue the life cycle. Tarantula wasps are also nectarivorous. The consumption
of fermented fruit sometimes intoxicates them to the point that flight becomes difficult. While the wasps tend to be
most active in daytime summer months, they tend to avoid the very highest temperatures. The male tarantula hawk does
not hunt; instead, it feeds off the flowers of milkweeds, western soapberry trees, or mesquite trees (females feed
on these same plants, as well).[1] The male tarantula hawk has a behavior called hill-topping, where he sits atop
tall plants and watches for passing females that are ready to reproduce, aka fuck their brains out.
The tarantula hawk is relatively docile and rarely stings without provocation. However the sting, particularly of
Pepsis formosa, is among the most painful of any insect, though the intense pain only lasts for about 3 minutes.[3]
Commenting on his own experience, one researcher described the pain as "…immediate, excruciating pain that simply
shuts down one's ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these
situations."[2] In terms of scale, the wasp's sting is rated near the top of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, second
only to that of the bullet ant and is described by Schmidt as "blinding, fierce [and] shockingly electric".[4]
Because of their extremely large stingers, very few animals are able to eat them; one of the few animals that can is
the roadrunner. As many predatory animals avoid these wasps, there are many different insects which are mimics,
including various other wasps and bees (Mullerian mimics), as well as moths, flies (e.g., mydas flies), and beetles
(e.g., Tragidion) (Batesian mimics).

The only animal that even fucks with these things is the infamous roadrunner as pictured below.

and that is a fact.

Sidenote, The Honeywell RQ-16 T-Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle has been named after the Tarantula Hawk.

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