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tarantula hawk yellow antenna? confused on spider? - female

tarantula hawk yellow antenna? confused on spider? - Female
Tularosa, Otero County, New Mexico, USA
November 8, 2009
Sorry for the poor quality but this wasp went to attack me several times. I have never seen a tarantula hawk attack other spiders so has this one lost her mind? And what is up with the yellow antenna? This is the first time I have ever dared to get so close to these creatures due to their nature and sting so I never noticed their three simple eyes between their antenna.

I don't want to put this in tarantula hawk until the experts have confirmed that the antenna does not change the species or that this is something that just looks like a tarantula hawk but isn't.

Images of this individual: tag all
tarantula hawk yellow antenna? confused on spider? - female tarantula hawk yellow antenna? confused on spider? - female

Moved from Spider Wasps.

Moved from ID Request.

Spider Wasp + Wolf Spider
I don't know enough about wasps to say if tarantula hawk or other for sure. Definitely there are tarantula hawks with orange antennae and wings. There is another spider wasp genus that looks like this, Entypus, but BG has no records for NM of that genus. The spider is a Wolf Spider. That's my non-expert two cents worth. :)

Entypus (spider wasp)

Pepsis (tarantula hawk)

We have a ton of tarantula hawks here but this is the first I have seen with the yellow (orange ;o) antenna but you have clearly pointed out there is a species like that, I just had not seen one before. This one I think was a "juvi" (which would also explain the crabby teenage attitude) as it was not as big as the ones I had seen earlier in the year which seems odd this late in the year. Also why the poor wolfie??

Wasps do not grow
after they have morphed into the imago state (you'll never see what you call 'youvie' they live inside the spider and are larvae). I think most wasp species are rather specialized and if this one took a wolf spider it knew exactly what it wanted. I hope someone will identify the species, and please do not move it any further than the general spider wasp page for now.

thank you
I had no idea. I assumed they grew. This one was a little over 1/2 the size of the "typical" TW we get in the summer. Also please know I do not move anything until I get a confirmed id from the experts which I know I am not, I am just a photographer who loves bugs and has a passions for learning more about them.

Size of the host determines the size of the wasp
The large difference in host size (tarantula vs wolf spider) explains the size difference in these wasps. The tarantula hawk preys on much larger spiders, so the larva that will eventually feed on the spider will be roughly equal to it in mass when it has finished eating it. This species (very likely Entypus) preys on wolf spiders.

Several spider wasps (including this one) mimic tarantula hawks, since t-hawks have earned a reputation in the animal world.

Great shot! Keep the wasp photos coming in.

A note on cropping/framing
Don't cut off the wing tips, as they can be essential for ID when you do shoot tarantula hawks.

Please always feel free to ask if I have an image that shows what it is that will help one identify the species I post. I realize I shoot insects for an entirely different reason than most. I like to see the details of their "faces" their "expressions" and do I dare say it "personalities". Yes I am odd but I guess that's what happens when you grow up a product of

The challenge for me here though was the fact it was a wasp and you might note I do not have any wasps except the one T-hawk I shot with a tele in the spring in my images. The reason being is I am highly allergic (epi-pen and all) but I am trying to overcome the fear. This one as I noted before was being very aggressive which is why most of my images look like crap.

The reason I posted the first image was I wanted an id on both the wasp and spider and I thought that image showed both the best. I had no idea the wing tips would be so important. If at any time any one has a question whether or not I have another photo please don't assume I do not because I just might. I took 11 shots of this one so if these two don't do it for you just email me.

Wing tip thing is recent knowledge for me.
I didn't mean to sound critical. I self-IDed a tarantula hawk with tattered wing tips and was called to task - mildly - by two experts. Didn't want you to run into the same problem. (It may pertain just to tarantula hawks.)

Like you, I was nervous with wasps but have overcome my fears with frequent exposure to the critters. I know an exterminator who's OK with them, too, but he and I both fear yellow jackets, which are quite nasty! I've had zero problems with other wasps, but am wary of honey bees, as they tend to be aggressive. I don't capture or handle any insects and have been bitten/stung only by harvester ants since I started heavy field photographing several years ago.

no worries
I hope I did not sound offended. I was just explaining my "artistic eye" lol. I probably don't always post the best picture for ID purposes but it is my prettiest picture ;o). People should never hesitate to hit me on the head and say “hey silly girl, nice picture and all, but do you happen to have a more boring "scientific" shot for us geeks” ;0). And for the record yes I have had entirely way too much coffee this morning so excuse my humor.

with your best shots this may not go to genus with any certainty. A view of the underside of the thorax is essential in the separation of Cryptocheilus and Entypus, which are two very closely related genera. For what it's worth I'm leaning strongly toward Entypus.

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