Tarantula hawks swarm San Antonio


#1

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#2

I recall one buzzing around me when I was sitting reading at the top of the foothills above Burbank – thought it was one of the coolest bugs that I had seen IRL.


#3

Here’s the other side of the story http://www.theland.com.au/news/agriculture/general/news/field-of-screams-nts-25k-tarantulas/2735848.aspx


#4

This video gives a little better impression of their size. Apparently this one isn’t even full grown. Gulp.


#5

There are mammals smaller than that.


#6

… with fire…


#7

I see your tarantula hawk and raise you one dobson fly. These nightmares were rare in MD-VA where I grew up… but not nearly rare enough.


#8

Swarms of Tarantula Hawks are common here in Tucson (I guess for our high population of tarantulas). They’re certainly intimidating, even if you don’t know about their sting, but I’ve walked through swarms of them unscathed.

Just don’t panic. They can detect fear with their antennae, and they despise cowards…


#9

Ah! Holy shit, that’s what I saw in Mission Trails Park in San Diego hiking there last weekend. A couple of them, as a matter of fact.
I stayed clear because it was clearly a wasp and all stinging bugs like me. A lot. I’ve been stung so many times I can barely count. My favorite was when a wasp flew up my shorts when I was hiking and stung me on my inner thigh. Thankfully that’s as high as it got…
Been stung on the neck, the back, both hands, my arms.
The time I remember on my back a yellow jacket flew in the window and down the back of my shirt while I was driving.
I was like - “what the heck was th… OWW!!!” Pulled over and took my shirt off and it flew out. Got me 3 times.


#10

well at least it doesn’t lay an egg under your skin like the botfly.


#11

I have dobson flies on my property! They are good water quality indicators, so they are increasingly rare everywhere in the US. This is a hellgrammite - the dobson fly larvae.

The adult dobson fly is pretty inoffensive, despite their scary size and the huge mandibles on the male. But hellgrammites tend to have the same sort of attitude as wolverines and honey badgers. They can draw blood on you without much problem, and they are totally up for it, too.

Edit: the one in the picture is most likely dead, since it is not actively hurting someone. They live under rocks in the stream, with just their armored heads sticking out, and eat other bugs and small fish.


#12

I see that the giant, mutated versions from Fallout are only a very slight exaggeration of the real thing.


#13

Some people don’t seem to be offensive to bees and wasps. I’m guessing you’re one of them; so am I. The only thing that ever purposely stings me is yellowjackets (and they are inherently evil).

We don’t get Taratula Hawks, but we do get Cicada Killers here.


#14

Mostly harmless.


#15

Totally harmless! I’ve hand them running around on me. Very, very cool, weird, ancient things.


#16

They are indeed cool. The night-time bug hunting was a real highlight of our time in the Amazon. This guy was quite something, too. His head is only a little smaller than a golf ball.

DSC_1454 by Winky, on Flickr


#17
  1. This thread makes me want to move to a polar region.

  2. Last summer we had a fairly significant hatch of mud dauber wasps. These guys look like total bad-asses but evidently aren’t so into stinging, even when you are working to destroy their mud nests…
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Sceliphron_caementarium_MHNT_Profil.jpg


#18

Predecessor to the worst foe in Fallout: New Vegas, the mighty (scary) cazador!


#19

When I lived in Arizona, we would occasionally see tarantulas running around the fields beside the road, especially after a monsoon. I’ve got video of letting one run over my hands. Can’t imagine a field of tens of thousands of them though, that’s way too many tickling legs for my taste.


#20

Well, my herp photo / collecting trip to the area in 2 weeks is shaping up nicely now. My purpose is to visit a friend in Austin, but I also plan to go road hunting at night hoping for a blacktail rattler or the local speckled/desert king snake intergrade, but I also like bugs, and I have been fascinated by tarantula hawks since an uncle gave me a book about desert wildlife when I was about six. The photo series of one subduing a a huge tarantula was incredible. I will get 2 or 3 for my bug collection, but I gotta say, hornets & wasps have always creeped me out WAY more than snakes