Tarantulas… big ugly bitey buggers… not ideal babysitting material in anyone’s book. Oddly the extraordinary tarantula hawk likes to leave junior with these evil sods… still she does take the precaution of paralyzing him first… a bit like leaving sherry with the nanny.
Tarantula hawks are actually a type of wasp. A bally big wasp as you’d expect. They also possess an incredibly powerful sting, second in power only to the bullet ant. The tarantula hawk’s sting is described by our old mate Schmidt as “Blinding, fierce, shockingly electric. A running hair drier has been dropped into your bubble bath.” Which sounds like one to be avoided.
The tarantula hawk sniffs out the tarantula, even going as far to head into their lair. Where it somehow entrances the big bloody spider. No one is really sure how this happens, the research being a tad thin on the ground. Most zoologists, being human, tend to avoid having to handle them and will go to great lengths to avoid publishing papers on ‘How the Stingiest Stinger you couldn’t even imagine interacts with the Spider from Hades’ presumably preferring to write papers on ‘Who prefers snuggles most? Penguins, Otters or Puppies” Though it is probably that this flying assassin is using some sort of pheromone.
The wasp then crawls over the tarantula checking he’s exactly the right species, when she’s sure he’s the right one she delivers a potent neurotoxin, drags it to the bottom of its burrow, lays a single egg and seals up the burrow with the spider. Eventually the larva hatches and sticks its mouth into the living tarantula’s abdomen to suck the spider dry. When the squidgy bits are gone, the rapidly growing larvae moves on to the paralysed spiders fresh essential organs. The spider of course dies, as it really could have quite done with those essential organs to live, which is why they were so bloody well essential in the first place. With the buffet slayed the wasp larvae builds a cocoon to metamorphose. To change into another tarantula bothering machine. Smashing stuff!