Spiders are scary, right? Wasps are scary, too, right? Well, what happens when a wasp takes on a spider? And not just any spider… A tarantula! Does the tarantula win and eat the wasp? Or does the wasp win and eat the tarantula? First off, would a small wasp even taken on a big tarantula? Surely, they would both try to avoid each other at all costs. Not quite.
Wasps in the family Pompilidae are found worldwide and are called pompilid wasps or spider wasps. Unlike most wasps, which live in colonies and are aggressive towards humans and other animals, spider wasps are solitary and keep to themselves. Adult spider wasps drink nectar, but their larvae are carnivorous, and they eat a very special prey. Spiders.
When a female spider wasp is ready to become a mother, she will scour the area for spiders. Then, when she finds one, she attacks. Often, spider wasps will take on spiders much bigger and heavier than they are, such as tarantulas.
Yet, the spider wasps have speed and agility on their side, giving them an edge over the lumbering spiders. The spider wasp dancing in circles around the huge tarantula.
Using her superior agility, the mother spider wasp lands several critical stings on the tarantula, dropping it to the ground. But that’s only the beginning. The tarantula is not dead. It is merely paralyzed.
The spider wasp will dig a burrow and drag the tarantula inside. There, she will lay an egg on it. Later, the egg will hatch, and the baby wasp will slowly eat the tarantula from the inside out, saving the vital organs for last, so the tarantula will not decompose before the larva has fully developed.