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Trivia # 336: Tarantula hawk

10 June, 2016
Toxicological trivia from June 10, 2016: in the previous trivia (# 335) we mentioned that the vespid (Vespidae) are a family of Hymenoptera which includes nearly all the known eusocial wasps and many solitary wasps. A tarantula hawk is a spider wasp which hunts tarantulas. Tarantula hawks belong to any of the many species in the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis in the family Pompilidae (spider wasps). The more familiar species are up to 5 cm (2.0 in) long, making them among the largest of wasps, and have blue-black bodies and bright, rust-colored wings (other species have black wings with blue highlights).  Their long legs have hooked claws for grappling with their victims. The stinger of a female Pepsis grossa can be up to 7 mm (1⁄4 in) long, and the sting is considered the second most painful insect sting in the world; the most painful being that of the bullet ant.  The vivid coloration found on the bodies, and especially wings, of these wasps is an  advertising to potential predators the wasps’ ability to deliver a powerful stingThis. This phenomenon is called:a) Aposematism; b) Mimetism;c) Both previous assertions are correct.
Trivia # 336: Tarantula hawk
Avispa caza tarántulas
(SerTox)
Correct answer: a. Read more in WP: Tarantula hawk

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