The rock wasp gets its name partly from its ecological behavior and partly from its appearance. The rock wasp is a large insectoid predator. It looks very much like a normal wasp, except that it is much larger and has a dull grey exoskeleton. A typical rock wasp has a wing span of 30 inches and weighs about two pounds.
Rock wasps are equipped with stingers that have a terrifying poison. If stung by a rock wasp, a person will be overcame with painful muscle spasms which quickly turn to rigid paralysis. All color will drain from the body and the skin will become grey and dusky. The victim is not dead, but in a state of coma. The victim will appear to be somewhat "stone" like and this has given the rock wasp a reputation as an insect that can petrify its victims with a single sting. The victim, however, is not actually turned to stone.
Rock wasps attack in groups and will usually try to outnumber prey 6 to 1. Once they have petrified a victim, they will not pursue others. They will work to carry the prey back to the hive.
Rock wasps inhabit mountain regions, preferring dry arid regions that border wastelands and deserts. They are only found in the most desolate regions, far from civilization. A rock wasp nest is actually built of stone. The hive is underground. The entrance to the hive appears as a tall cone fashioned from rocks and boulders shaped somewhat like a miniature volcano.
Rock wasps are found in Qeshir and Aggradar.
Once a victim has been "petrified", several dozen wasps will work together to lift and carry the victim back to the hive nest. The number of wasps required to do this will depend on the size and weight of the victim. A single wasp can lift and carry about 20 pounds. Therefore, a 200 pound man would require 10 wasps. A 300 pound ogre in heavy plate armor might require twenty wasps to lift. Rock wasps are able to excrete strands of silk from special organs in the abdomen (very much like a spider) and they will often use these silken strands to help them lift and carry prey.
Those who have ventured into the hive of rock wasps have reported finding petrified victims cocooned in great masses of spider like silk, excreted from the wasps. Dozens of such bodies may be found in a single chamber.
It is important to note that the rock wasps can NOT eat the flesh of a petrified victim. The rigid paralysis and skin changes make the prey to tough for the insects mandibles to tear apart. At the center of every rock wasp hive will be a queen. The queen rock wasp has a specially modified stinger which carries the "antidote" to the wasp petrification poison. By injecting her stinger antidote into a petrified victim, she can release the paralysis and undo the biochemical changes, restoring the prey to health. Only then can the wasps feed. It is useless to rescue a petrified victim without the queen's antidote. Therefore, those who venture into a rock wasp lair after a petrified friend will have to confront the queen and obtain the antidote in order to truly save their friend. The Queen alone has the gland that produced the antidote. She controls who eats, therefore she controls the colony. Obviously, obtaining the antidote to save a friend is very difficult.
This website was last updated March 31, 2019. Copyright 1990-2019 David M. Roomes.