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New Mexico State Insect

New Mexico State InsectCan you guess which one is a tarantula killer?

New Mexico’s official butterfly is the beautiful Sandia hairstreak. Its greenish-gold coloration somewhat complements the state fish.

The state insect is another story.

It’s called a tarantula hawk (wasp) for a reason. The adults feed on nectar, but they feed tarantulas to their young.

When a tarantula hawk locates a tarantula, it stings it, paralyzing it. It then drags the tarantula to a burrow and stuffs it down the hole. Next, it lays eggs on top of the paralyzed spider. When the young hatch, they’re greeted with a meal fit for a king.

The tarantula hawk wasp may have the second most painful sting among insects, after South America’s feared bullet ant. If you’re a healthy adult, you’ll probably survive, but you’ll probably run screaming all the way to the nearest hospital.

The good news: Tarantula hawks don’t eat people. If you leave them alone, they’ll probably ignore you.

You can watch Brave Wilderness’ Coyote Peterson get stung by a tarantula hawk wasp here. Keep in mind that he’s well trained, well prepared and has an assistant with him.

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