21 Oct 2016

Stung by a Tarantula Hawk

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Coyote Peterson is one of those weird guys with a unique approach to Natural History. He makes videos showing a variety of critters biting him or stinging him.

He’s been working his way up the great chain of painful insect bites, and this morning I came upon the video in which he serves up his own forearm to reputedly the second-most-painful insect sting in creation, the one delivered by the Tarantula Hawk, specifically Pepsis grossa.

As Wikipedia informs us:

Wasps of the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis produce large quantities of venom and when stung humans experience immediate, intense, excruciating short term pain. Although the immediate pain of a tarantula hawk sting is among the greatest recorded for any stinging insect, the venom itself is not very toxic. The lethality of 65 mg/kg in mice for the venom of P. formosa pattoni reveals that the defensive value of the sting and the venom is based entirely upon pain.

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