When model Chrissy Teigen shared a video Thursday showing a winged creature crawling on her arm, the internet went nuts.
Teigen asked her daughter, Luna, whether it was a "nice" bug, and then she asked the toddler, "do you want to give him a kiss?"
time for another game of “what’s this bug!?”! pic.twitter.com/hwCAPLB2vv— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 26, 2018
Cue the collective "nope" on social media, where Twitter users tried to convince Teigen that she had just played with perhaps one of the fiercest wasps on the planet - a type of spider wasp called a tarantula hawk.
"Oh my god but he was so nice," Teigen replied in a series of tweets. "Guys I think he is one of the good ones. Maybe I am tarzana, queen of the bugs. Is there a [expletive] entomologist here?"
maybe I am tarzana, queen of the bugs— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 26, 2018
Don't worry, Teigen. Experts say it was likely not a tarantula hawk, which hunt tarantulas, sting and paralyze them, and then drag them back to their nests, where they plant a single egg on them, according to the United States Forest Service.
Once the larvae hatch, the Forest Service says, they begin "sucking the juices from the paralyzed, but still living spider . . . feeding voraciously while avoiding vital organs to keep the host fresh. Eventually, an adult Tarantula Hawk wasp emerges from the nest and the life cycle begins once again."
Gwen Pearson, educational outreach coordinator for the Purdue Department of Entomology, told The Washington Post that although she would need to see the insect better to be certain, she does not believe it is a tarantula hawk. Instead, she said, it looks like a paper wasp, known for building paper-like nests.
Pearson said tarantula hawks have a characteristic "flick" to their wings, which she said she does not see in the online video.
Pearson added that paper wasps are nothing to be afraid of but should be treated respectfully.
"They can sting, although their fiercest behavior is reserved for defending their nests," she said. "I definitely do not advise that people run around petting wasps. But when we look at all the amazing insects around us without fear, we can share the wonder of kids and discovery."
By Friday morning, people had viewed Teigen's video more than 1.8 million times.The Washington Post