As I approach the tree, I spot a Tarantula Hawk (Wasp) that is carrying a small tarantula which it has just caught. I knew we had Tarantula’s in the area, because Breezy had spotted a couple earlier in the week. It was a little difficult to film because Breezy kept jumping up trying to get at it, but I think I managed to get some decent close up footage despite having to follow it around the tree trunk. I totally turned off the audio in this video, because Breezy's incessant barking was very distracting!!
Tarantula Hawks are very cool insects. Most of the ones in Arizona, have bright red-orange wings, but there are black-winged varieties. They also reportedly have one of the most painful insect stings, but fortunately are not aggressive toward humans. They will actively hunt tarantulas as food for their young.
Once paralyzed, they will drag the tarantula down into a burrow, and lay a single egg on the spider’s abdomen. Then when the wasp larvae hatch, they have a fresh meal to feed upon. Very interesting behavior! In any case, I found the following great video which shows a classic battle between a wasp and the Tarantula on You Tube. Hope you guy’s find this stuff as fascinating as I do!