Lugging the luckless legless

Why are we not overwhelmed with insects and other small greeblies? Some would say we are, but think how many more there would be without them all preying on one another.

Birds eat spiders and wasps, which eat spiders, which eat … and I haven’t even mentioned ants. It’s not so much a food chain as a food web, with many, many links.

This time of year, lots of wasps are in action. The spider-eating wasp behaves like it eats spiders and it does, but in a round-about way. The adults actually eat pollen and nectar. The female builds a nest and chases down a spider, paralyzes it, cuts off its legs, places it in the burrow and lays at least one egg on the body of the spider. The hatchling wasp then has a ready food supply the moment its born – a fresh, living spider.

These wasps move very fast, with constant twitching of antennae. This one was trying to move the spider upward. It was having a hard time and kept falling down.

Fabriogenia with de-legged and paralysed huntsman

Fabriogenia species with de-legged and paralysed huntsman

Fabriogenia with de-legged and paralysed huntsman

Fabriogenia sp_4 Fabriogenia sp_3It was having trouble with the size and weight, and eventually tried to take off …

Fabriogenia sp_6… but fell to the decking and moved quickly out of sight, spider still in tow.

Brisbane Insects has a lovely shot of a spider wasp and huntsman in flagrante delicto, before the paralysis and de-legging.

It really is a jungle out there and there’s a lot going on, mostly out of range of our human ‘radar’. We may get bugged by all those spiders and insects, but there’d be a lot more of them without that tangled food web.

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3 Responses to Lugging the luckless legless

  1. peonyden says:

    I have never seen one with the de-legged Spider. Mostly I see them dragging the entire Huntsman across the ground up and down walls and rocks, to return to the nest location. Hard work, but fascinating to watch. On dragged the huntsman about 70 metres.
    A marathon equivalent, I reckon.
    Denis Wilson

  2. Blokeschool says:

    Its a quiet kind of horror story in your own back yard.

    • Joy Window says:

      Sure is. Strangely, I avoid horror movies – what some people do to each other in real life is horrific enough, but I don’t take that as entertainment. I’m not worried by ‘horror’ in nature as it seems so rational by comparison.

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