Tarantula Hawk

Pepsis chrysothemis

Watercolor image of Pepsis tarantula hawk wasp © by Michael Plagens

This watercolor illustration was done from a specimen found near Castle Hot Springs, Arizona. Oct. 1992. The wasp, a male tarantula hawk, and was found visiting Salazaria in large numbers in the Big Horn Mountains of western Arizona. There are several very similar species of Taranatula Hawk to be found in the Sonoran Desert.

Pompilidae -- Spider Wasp Family

On 25 Oct 1992 at Big Horn Mountains, I found many male Tarantula Hawk wasps attracted to a Bladder Sage, Salazaria mexicana, which was in bloom. But they were not taking nectar. Instead they appeared to be licking stems and developing fruits. Other wasps, such as sphecids were also thus engaged. An explanation escaped me. Normally this would suggest the presence of honeydew exudate from aphids or scales, but these were also not evident. Explorations in the Sonoran Desert are bound to turn up new and unusual observations.

More Information:

Sponsored Links:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, Page created 15 Oct. 1999,
updated 26 Jan. 2019.