Taken in my backyard in Marana, Arizona using a Canon Powershot SX10IS.
The well named tarantula hawks belong to a group of wasps that specialize in paralyzing spiders to feed their larvae. They are active and nervously flick their wings as if aware of the danger of taking on a hairy tarantula many times their own size. But spiders are easier to subdue than other prey because they have a major nerve center on the underside of the body; a single well-aimed sting can put them out of commission. The battle between a tarantula and one of these wasps can last a long time, but it generally ends in victory for the smaller and more agile wasp.
Females hunt for tarantula, sting and paralyze them, dig burrows, and bury spiders and eggs. Larvae feed on the spiders and pupate in burrows, then emerge as adults. One generation a year.