Life Cycle of a Tarantula Wasp

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A tarantula wasp is an insect with a complicated life cycle, one which involves using a tarantula to lay its eggs. Learn about the metamorphosis of the tarantula wasp with information from a biology teacher in this free video on insects.

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Video Transcript

I'm an animal lover. I have had all kinds of pets over the course of my life. I've had cats and dogs and rabbits and gerbils, guinea pigs. I've had lizards. I've had iguanas. I've had a pet snake here or there but there is one thing I have never been able to have myself as a pet and that's a tarantula. I don't know why. It just kind of creeps me out a little bit. Well did you know that there is something even scarier than a tarantula and that's a tarantula wasp. Now this is a wasp that actually uses a tarantula to lay its eggs. They actually go after the tarantula, hunt it, and drag it back to their lair. Wow. I'm Janice Creneti and I've been teaching environmental science for over 20 years and I'm here to talk to you today about the life cycle of the tarantula wasp. Why would a wasp go after a tarantula? Well like I said it needs it to lay its eggs. The wasp being an insect has a pretty complicated life cycle. They go through something called metamorphosis. You may be familiar with this when you are talking about butterflies. So the tarantula wasp will actually go after a tarantula, drag the tarantula back to its nest and lay one single egg on the tarantula. Now that sounds pretty tricky to do but these tarantula wasps are about two inches long so they are a pretty formidable insect to be dealing with. Once they drag that tarantula back into their lair and lay the egg on it the egg eventually hatches and becomes a larva. Now this is when the spider, the tarantula really comes into play because this larva is actually going to feed off of the living spider for as long as it can keep that spider alive. Then when the larva has gotten a little bit larger it actually bores into the body of the tarantula and begins to feed off the body from the inside out avoiding the vital organs because that would kill its meal. The larvae then can hatch into a pupa and eventually hatch out as an adult tarantula wasp that is ready to go after a whole new tarantula. I'm Janice Creneti and this is the life cycle of a tarantula wasp.

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