Monday, October 5, 2009

For My Shared Clan Eggshop and my friends in Thessaloniki

Why yes! I have a post for you.  While I'm sure this is not remotely what you were looking for when you googled the above phrase and landed on my blog, I do have a story to tell.  I'm sure you'll find it intriguing, provided you enjoy a good skin-crawling-ooh that's disgusting-truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story involving arachnids and insects.

The previous post is about Montezuma's Castle, the picture I posted of the "Castle" represents everything the average tourist will see when visiting.  You cannot climb up into it, you cannot get any closer, there are no trails, and no additional dwellings to be seen.  What you see is what you get.  There is a small "museum" I would rather call it a Visitor's Center which tells a very short history about the structure and the National Parks system.  That's it.  Nothing else.

The trip is not a disappointment, provided you understand you will not be climbing up into the dwelling.  Its worth seeing, make it a side trip on your way to doing something else.  The country is beautiful, its worth the drive.

That said...we had a little bonus siting the day we visited.  See the picture above?  This is a "Tarantula Hawk" (thank you google images for this picture.)  I think its rather beautiful myself.  What this insect does however, can be called nothing other than horrifying. Its the stuff horror movies are made of!  Think hairy spiders, paralyzing venom, kidnapping, egg-laying, being eaten alive by hatchlings.  These are the kinds of things put in movies to terrify people.  These are the kinds of things that are in movies I don't watch.  We had the privilege of seeing one of these do its thing in the parking lot at Montezuma's Castle.  The tarantula hawk had found its prey, one of these adorable creatures---------->

 What the park ranger told us next was fascinating.  We truly had a learning experience, and according to her, a rare one.

The tarantula hawk had found its prey, a nice hairy, rather large tarantula (did you know tarantulas don't really like to bite you, and if you do, its a lot like a bee-sting and shouldn't really be any big deal?  Tarantula's are nothing to be scared of).  He injected the tarantula with a venom which would paralyze the spider completely. Once the people cleared away and gave the poor hawk a moment to get its work done, his plan was to drag that spider to his den of iniquity where he would fertilize the eggs of his mate, and she, wanting healthy, well-fed baby-hawks, would lay her eggs inside the LIVE tarantula.  The tarantula would be kept alive as the embryos developed and eventually became baby tarantula hawks.  The babies would eat the live spider from the inside out, making their arrival into the world complete.

How's THAT for a Scary Halloween story?  If only I could make this stuff up, but no.  Its TRUE. And it was really cool to get to see this underside of nature in action.


SO said...

It's like you were on your own Animal Planet show or Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (is my age showing with that?)

That is seriously creepy stuff. A phrase I never thought I would say "Poor tarantula."

Lara said...

Um. Ewwww!

Fascinating, but totally disgusting all at once. I hope I never meet a tarantula hawk.

Lamps Family said...

I honestly have to say that made me gag, but it is extremely interesting. I've never even heard of a tarantula hawk, it is kinda cool lookin in a creepy sort of way. :)

Kristina P. said...

I am going to have nightmares tonight. Thanks.

Lisa S said...

And there hasn't been made a scary movie about this. hmmm