The struggle to survive isn't always a fair fight. Here's what separates nature's winners from its losers.
Tarantula hawks use hooked spines on their long legs to grapple with spiders and drag victims back to their nest.
A tarantula hawk’s body is about the size of your dad’s thumb. They’re a bit smaller than a tarantula—but not much.
Tarantulas sling arrow-sharp hairs off their bellies at attackers. The barbed bristles pepper a predator’s skin and eyes causing pain and blindness.
A tarantula hawk’s business end is tipped with a stinger as long as your pinkie nail. One well-placed thrust delivers a searing sting that paralyzes a spider in seconds.
Tarantulas stab their hollow, half-inch-long fangs into predators or prey. Then they pump in venom to liquify the punctured creature’s insides.
Tarantula hawks are a spider’s worst nightmare. After besting a tarantula, the wasp lays an egg on the spider. Once hatched, the baby wasp burrows inside and feeds on the paralyzed—but still living—spider for a month.
Nichole LeClair Terrill