posted 07/24/13 - This sucker was HUGE! Capturing a real sense of size seems so tricky in photography. Using my finger as a makeshift measuring guide, I estimate this tarantula hawk at 30mm from head to abdomen tip. Interestingly, according to Powell and Hogue, this is not the largest spider wasp found in CA; that title goes to the closely related Pepsis thisbe coming in at a whopping 32-44mm. Secondary to its size, I noticed it was rotating around in a clockwise fashion and continued even after I poked it a couple times. Very odd behavior. It's beautiful and magnificent in a bold way.
Later I found out that a dear friend unexpectedly died this day. I'm dedicating this blog post to Steve Gally. He was truly one-of-a-kind with a booming voice, a heart of gold, and endless stories. A mason by craft, and an artist by heart. He loved insects and would have found this tarantula hawk absolutely amazing. He helped shaped my life today in ways few people ever do. I am incredibly thankful and honored to have been included in his fold of many friends. To quote Bob Dylan, "But to live outside the law, you must be honest." Goodnight, sweet man.
ps 08/17/13 - Additional links for Steve: Legacy.com, BigSurKate, Bread on the Water, SeaRock.