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A tarantula hawk is not a hawk, but a giant wasp that lives in California’s
deserts. An expectant female can be up to four inches long, and when the
time comes, she pounces on the nearest tarantula, which is also native to
deserts lit orange at night by the glow of Los Angeles. She paralyzes the spider
with her half-inch stinger, then drags the prostrate arachnid to an underground
lair where she lays a single white egg on it. The egg hatches after five days,
and the infant wasp dines on its hapless victim for about a month, craftily
saving the organs for last so that the spider remains alive—and fresh.