THANK YOU, Gus R., for the identification of this wasp!!
The tarantula hawk is the common name for species in the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis
of the family Pompilidae, in the insect Order Hymenoptera. These two genera are limited
to the Western Hemisphere, and tarantula hawks in the Eastern Hemisphere belong to
different genera. These genera of wasps are called tarantula hawks due to their hunting
of tarantulas as food for their larvae.
Tarantula hawks are up to two inches (50mm) long with a blue-black body and bright
rust-colored wings. They are among the largest of wasps. The bright rust coloring
that they have on their wings is also known as aposematic coloring; this warns
potential predators that they are dangerous. Their long legs end with hooked claws
for grappling with their victims. The stinger of a female tarantula hawk can be up
to 1/3 inch (7 mm) long, and delivers a sting which is rated amongst the most painful
in the insect world.