In Yucaipa, California, local resident Tim O’Connor saw something big land on a fig leaf reports the Yucaipa News Mirror.
It was not just any insect or bird, but a two inch black wasp with big antennae which his wife researched and found to be the tarantula hawk wasp. According to Wikipedia, its sting is one of the most painful in the world.
As one might guess, the wasp’s victims are female tarantulas which are plentiful in certain areas of California. Gruesomely, the wasp doesn’t kill the tarantula but paralyzes it with its wasp sting.
Then, the wasp inserts and egg inside the abdomen of the furry spider and then seals it up. Once the egg hatches, the young wasp eats its way out and the tarantula dies.
The good news is that the tarantula hawk wasp’s sting is not deadly or poisonous for humans – just don’t pet one if you see it land in the trees.
Incidentally, the tarantula hawk wasp is the state insect of New Mexico according to Wikipedia.September 4, 2008 – 12:33 pm