Walked out of the house this morning to be greeted by what I thought was was a hummingbird, but instead turned out to be a Tarantula Hawk, which is actually a very large wasp. And by very large, I mean over three inches (7-1/2 cm) long and heavy enough to make the leaf it’s standing on sag almost to the ground.
Despite their size, they’re actually quite docile and eat nectar rather than other insects. They’re called Tarantula hawks because the females will sting a tarantula to paralyze it, then lay eggs on it. After they’ve hatched, they eat the spider alive (delightful, no?). Don’t usually see them this late in the year, but perhaps the warm weather has kept them out longer than usual.
I’m just glad I’m not a tarantula.