Tarantula hawks are of the wasp order of insects. They have shiny black bodies and vibrant orange translucent wings, they are the largest among the wasps. They can be found world wide, any where there are flower blossoms. The tarantula hawk will sting, apparently considered the second most painful sting next to a bullet ant. The pain will last about three minutes and is painful at the time. But! They are generally solitary and docile, rarely stinging without provocation. The sting is not ordinarily considered dangerous nor require medical attention unless an allergic reaction occurs. Local redness after the sting can last up to a week.
The tarantula hawk name derives from the female seeking out a tarantula, which she stings, paralyzes, drag to her burrow, and lays an egg on. When the egg goes to larvae, it hatches, then the grub creates a hole in the tarantula’s abdomen, enters, then feeds on the still live tarantula for a few weeks. It pupates, the wasp becomes an adult and emerges from the tarantulas abdomen.
The tarantula hawk is the state insect of New Mexico. I saw this tarantula while visiting New Mexico. The tarantula hawk photos were taken in Arizona, I’ve seen them frequently flying around in the southwest during the warmer months of the year.