Common Name: Tarantula Hawk

Scientific Name: Pepsis formosa

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Hymenoptera

Family: Pompilidae

Genus: Pepsis

Species: P. formosa



They are solitary wasps, the largest species of wasps in the United States. The female searches for large tarantulas and paralyzes them. She then lays her eggs inside the spider; her young will feed on the spider when they hatch. They are found in the Southwestern United States, and common to Nevada. This species of wasp is extremely aggressive and is thought to have the most painful sting of all the insects found on Earth.

Research By: Monty V

Published: 12/3/04

Photo by: Robert Shantz, October 8, 2003