tarantula hawk wasp & B vagans

Mattkc

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Jul 23, 2015
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Was in Cozumel, Mexico last month and while exploring the the jungle found this dead tarantula hawk wasp next to a paralyzed sub adult B. vagans (2.5" - 3"), in a shallow burrow under a wooden platform - I placed them on the wood to get a better photo. The vagans could barely move its legs when touched. It apparently was being eaten alive with the wasp larvae growing inside it. Not sure if the wasp was killed by the vagans, or it naturally dies after laying its egg? Nature is cruel... Hawk Wasp.JPG Hawk Wasp 2.JPG
 

Bread

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I thought the wasp buries the spider with it's larvae?
Maybe it got off a sting but succumbed to a bite before it could finish?
 

Ellenantula

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They lay their egg ON the spider's abdomen after paralysing with their sting. Don't know why this disturbs me... nature being nature... but sad. :(
 

EulersK

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You'll see this at least once if you live in the Mojave area long enough. It's pretty common, at least if you live on the outskirts of the city.
 

Ellenantula

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You'll see this at least once if you live in the Mojave area long enough. It's pretty common, at least if you live on the outskirts of the city.
Thanks -- now I know where NOT to move to. Nature IS fascinating - but man, I gotta root for the T. Wasps need a different fan club. :)

[edited to add: I adore wasps (in general) and have a lovely paper wasp nest again this year, but still, gotta root for the T in this case.]
 
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Mattkc

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Jul 23, 2015
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Was in Cozumel, Mexico last month and while exploring the the jungle found this dead tarantula hawk wasp next to a paralyzed sub adult B. vagans (2.5" - 3"), in a shallow burrow under a wooden platform - I placed them on the wood to get a better photo. The vagans could barely move its legs when touched. It apparently was being eaten alive with the wasp larvae growing inside it. Not sure if the wasp was killed by the vagans, or it naturally dies after laying its egg? Nature is cruel... View attachment 215815 View attachment 215816
Wish I would have known the egg was laid on the outside of the abdomen - would have tried to photo it! I have heard on another post I read sometime back, after several months, if not infected by the wasp larvae it will return to normal. Would have liked to bring him home and test this theory, but these guys are CITIES II protected due to being a Brachyphema!
Thanks all for input...
 
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Ellenantula

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Wish I would have known the egg was laid on the outside of the abdomen - would have tried to photo it! I have heard on another post I read sometime back, after several months, if not infects by the wasp larvae it will return to normal. Would have liked to bring him home and test this theory, but these guys are CITIES II protected due to being a Brachyphema!
Thanks all for input...
There was a thread on AB (don't remember when) where someone did nurse a T back to health after wasp attack.
 

Chris LXXIX

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That's nothing special, just the natural equilibrium laws of mother nature. What is terrible is human made actions, actions powerful enough to snuff, in one strike, for their garbage, everything. Maybe for build a F-Word brand new Hotel, or what else.
 

chanda

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I know, everyone here is on the T's side - but what is up with that wasp? The poor thing looks like she's infected with a fungus of some sort. If the tarantula didn't administer a fatal bite, the fungus may be what ultimately killed her.

I live in Southern California, where Pepsis and Hemipepsis wasps (tarantula hawks) are common. While I do love the tarantulas and hate to see one victimized by the wasps, I can't help but appreciating the beauty of the wasps as well. I've even kept them as pets occasionally. Here's one eating from my hand:
Typically, I only keep them for a few weeks at a time (to show my students) then release them. Because this one had badly damaged wings when I found her and was unable to fly, I kept her for the remainder of her life (which was a few months).

Nature often seems terrible and cruel when viewed from our anthropomorphic perspective, but really it's just the circle of life. Just like our beloved tarantulas must kill and eat other creatures to survive, the wasp must kill tarantulas to reproduce. (Still, if I found a recently-paralyzed tarantula, I'd probably try to remove the egg and nurse it back to health anyway! I'm such a hypocrite!) :happy:
 

Mattkc

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I know, everyone here is on the T's side - but what is up with that wasp? The poor thing looks like she's infected with a fungus of some sort. If the tarantula didn't administer a fatal bite, the fungus may be what ultimately killed her.

I live in Southern California, where Pepsis and Hemipepsis wasps (tarantula hawks) are common. While I do love the tarantulas and hate to see one victimized by the wasps, I can't help but appreciating the beauty of the wasps as well. I've even kept them as pets occasionally. Here's one eating from my hand:
Typically, I only keep them for a few weeks at a time (to show my students) then release them. Because this one had badly damaged wings when I found her and was unable to fly, I kept her for the remainder of her life (which was a few months).

Nature often seems terrible and cruel when viewed from our anthropomorphic perspective, but really it's just the circle of life. Just like our beloved tarantulas must kill and eat other creatures to survive, the wasp must kill tarantulas to reproduce. (Still, if I found a recently-paralyzed tarantula, I'd probably try to remove the egg and nurse it back to health anyway! I'm such a hypocrite!) :happy:
The fungus on the wasp was probably due to the moisture level in the borrow after it died. Nasty stuff grows quick in this moist tropical environment...
 
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