Nature in LA

Showing posts with label : tarantula hawk

October 31, 2012

Psycho Spider Killer: What is It?

I've been waiting an entire month to write this post, and maybe my entire life to entomologically riff off a Talking Heads song title! On Monday, October 1, I found a large tarantula hawk wasp (a.k.a Pepsis wasp) on some flowering Baccharis in the North Campus. This blue wasp´╗┐ with orange wings was the first of its kind spotted in our new gardens, and is indeed a spider killer.
Tarantula Hawk on Baccharis
This is what Insects of the Los Angeles Basin has to say about tarantula hawks preying on spiders:
"When a female wasp finds a tarantula, she alights and engages it in battle. The wasp then stings the spider on the underside between the legs and usually succeeds in paralyzing but not killing it....