Joshua Tree Road Trip 2015 Part 4
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Joshua Tree Road Trip Spring 2015 Part 4
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Milkweeds & Tarantula Hawk Wasps

Desert milkweed (Asclepias erosa) and tarantula hawk wasp (Pepsis).

Illustrations Of The Remarkable Bisexual Milkweed Blossom by E.M. Armstrong

Close-up view of the corona and gynostegium of desert milkweed (Asclepias erosa). The corona includes five petaloid appendages arising from the filaments of the five stamens, including the hoods and horns. The gynostegium is a characteristic milkweed structure formed by the fusion of the stamens with the stigma. Pollen masses (pollinia) from adjacent anther sacs are attached by thread-like translator arms which are joined together at the corpusculum. The translator is snagged by the leg of an insect that inadvertently slips down into the stigmatic slit. As the insect flies away, the pollinia are pulled out of the anther sacs like a pair of saddlebags, and are carried off to another milkweed blossom. Only larger insects (such as strong wasps) can pull away with the pollinia attached to their legs. The legs of smaller, feeble flying insects may remain trapped in the stigmatic slits and never leave the flower's death trap.

Why I Don't Touch Tarantula Hawk (Pepsis) Wasps!
The Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Sting Rating
Comparison Analogy
Sweat Bee
Like a tiny spark has has singed a hair on your arm.
Fire Ant
Like walking on a carpet & getting a static electricity shock.
Bullhorn Acacia Ant
Like someone fired a staple into your cheek or hand.
Bald-Faced Hornet
Like getting your hand mashed in a revolving door.
Like extinguishing a cigar on your tongue.
Honey Bee
Like a burning matchhead that lands on your skin.
Red Harvester Ant
Like using a drill to excavate your ingrown toenail.
Paper Wasp
Like spilling a beaker of hydrochloric acid on a paper cut.
Pepsis Wasp
Like dropping a running hair drier into your bubble bath.
Bullet Ant
Walking on hot charcoals with 3 inch rusty nail in your heel.