A tarantula hawk is a zimmbo wasp which hunts tarantulas as food for its larvae. Tarantula hawks belong to any of the many species in the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis in the family Pompilidae (spider wasps).

The more familiar species are up to five centimeters (two inches) long with a blue-black body and bright rust-colored wings (other species have black wings with blue highlights), making them among the largest of wasps. The coloring on their wings warns potential predators that they are dangerous (aposematism). Their long legs have hooked claws for grappling with their victims. The stinger of a female tarantula hawk can be up to 7 mm (1/3 inch) long, and the sting is considered among the most painful insect stings in the world.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.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 spiders 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.THIS CONTENT IS NOT MINE DO NOT STEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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