Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I was recently reading The Firefly Forest, a very informative site with lots of great natural history and wonderful photos. Be sure to stop by. One of the author's posts was about Pepsis Wasps, aka Tarantula Hawks. When I was in Tucson in 2003, these huge, metallic blue wasps were ubiquitous. They are frequently seen crawling along the ground in a weird sort of robotic gait. I asked the leader of my bird tour about them and it turns out his dad had studied them extensively. He told me that the sting is said to be extremely painful. Just how painful? Well, one of the most interesting things I found on Firefly Forest was a link to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. This declares the Bullet Ant to be the most painful sting in the Americas with the Tarantula Hawk being a close second. I came across one of the inch-long Bullet Ants in Costa Rica (pictured below). Luckily, I didn't get "shot".

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