Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deadlock

A while back I described an encounter between a wasp and a large yellow underwing moth (see http://cabinetofcuriosities-greenfingers.blogspot.com/2009/07/unlucky-moth.html) where there was only ever going to be one outcome, but today I watched a wasp grapple with a more formidable opponent where the winner was always in doubt. The wasp blundered into a spider’s web spun in an umbel of hogweed and after a frantic struggle managed to free itself, but not before the spider had leapt onto the wasp. They hung together in the wrecked web for a few seconds, while I took these pictures.





Each grasped the other by its opponent’s jaws, while the wasp couldn’t quite bend its abdomen down far enough to sting the spider. Deadlock. Then the wasp broke free and flew off with the spider still attached, so I’ll never know the outcome of the contest. Maybe, during its initial lunge, the spider managed to inject enough venom to kill the wasp and they both plunged to the ground, where the spider finished the job. Maybe the wasp stung the spider and settled to dismember its attacker. Which would you put money on? Anyone know what spider this is?

6 comments:

  1. No idea, but for an ex engineer all this is totally fascinating. When life is dull in the big world it pays to lift a leaf or two and look what's happening to the little people.

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  2. Amazing. It could be a crab spider. They are noted for grabbing stinging insects bigger than themselves but I don't know what the species is.

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  3. What a sight to witness. A struggle to the death. My money would be on the spider. I'd think he got the first 'bite' in, enough to slow the wasp eventually.
    Great stuff Phil.

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  4. Totally agree with you Adrian, it's amazing what goes on in the undergrowth!

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  5. It was certainly a short, furious confrontation Squirrel - the spider instinctively grabbed the wasp then may have regretted it..

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  6. It think you're probably right Keith, spiders usually sink their fangs in instantly - the wasp might have been doomed, even though it did fly off.........

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