Tarantula Hawk Facts for Kids

A Picture of a Tarantula Hawk Wasp
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Hymenoptera
  • Suborder: Apocrita
  • Superfamily: Vespoidea
  • Familyy: Pompilidae

14 Tarantula Hawk Facts for Kids

  1. Tarantula hawk is a generic name for a group of solitary wasps who are members of the Pompilidae family.
  2. Tarantula hawks are also known as pompilid wasps, spider-hunting wasps and spider wasps.
  3. Tarantula hawks belong to one of two genera, Pepsis or Hemipepsis.
  4. The more common tarantula hawk species have an average length of 2 inches.
  5. Tarantula hawks are solitary wasps and live alone in a burrow.
  6. Adult tarantula hawks don’t eat tarantulas. They feed exclusively on the nectar from flowers.
  7. Female tarantula hawks are the ones who hunts tarantulas.
  8. Female tarantula hawks are very successful at hunting tarantulas, and rarely lose in a confrontation.
  9. Adult tarantula hawks attack and paralyze tarantulas. They are then transported to a nest, where an egg is laid on the tarantula and consumed by the larva that hatches.
  10. Tarantula hawk larva consumes the paralyzed tarantula while it’s still alive. They will avoid major organs to keep the tarantula alive for as long as possible.
  11. The sting from a tarantula hawk is extremely painful and is second to none except the bullet ant.
  12. Luckily tarantula hawks are not aggressive and its rare that a human is stung by one.
  13. Many other species of insects try to mimic the tarantula hawk because of its painful sting.
  14. The U.S. State of New Mexico made the tarantula hawk their state insect in 1989.