Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • Spiders always scared me. When I was a child, I couldn't even look at a picture of one -- or touch the page where a spider's photo appeared.

    On a camping trip not long ago, I watched a tarantula on its final journey, dragged by a gigantic wasp along a quarter mile of an asphalt camp road. At the time, I didn't know the spider was alive. I didn't know about tarantula hawks either. But the macabre scene held me spellbound for almost an hour.

    Later, I learned that the wasp is called a tarantula hawk. These wasps normally feed on nectar from the flowers of milkweed, soap berry trees, or mesquite. In mating season, however, the female wasp hunts tarantulas. Her sting paralyzes the spider, which she drags into her burrow. Then she lays a single egg on the spider's abdomen.

    When the wasp larva hatches, it creates a small hole in the spider's abdomen, enters the hole, and feeds voraciously. Following its instincts, the larva avoids eating vital organs, to keep the spider alive for as long as possible.

    After several weeks, the wasp larva pupates. Finally, the fully developed wasp emerges from the spider's abdomen and leaves the burrow to continue its life cycle.

    Since witnessing the tarantula drama, I've noticed a shift in my attitude toward spiders. Instead of reacting with automatic fear, I feel inclined to pause and consider what the universe requires of the spider. And of me.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.