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Tarantula Hawk


Watercolor © 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 the Big Horn Mountains of western Arizona.

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 explaination 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.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008