pepsis

The tarantula hawk is one of the largest parasitoid wasps, using its sting to paralyze its tarantula prey before dragging it to a brood nest as living food. A single egg is laid on the spider, hatching to a larva which eats the still-living host. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

Tarantula hawk wasps are relatively docile and rarely sting humans without provocation. However, the sting is among the most painful of all insects’, though the intense pain only lasts about five minutes. In terms of scale, the wasp’s sting is rated near the top of the Schmidt sting pain index, second only to that of the bullet ant, and is described by Schmidt as “blinding, fierce, and shockingly electric”.

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