Friday, June 24, 2011

Wolves of the Water Surface

On sunny days wasps often land on the patches of duckweed on our pond, to drink from the surface - and sometimes they fall in and become trapped in the surface film. Within a few seconds the vibrations from their frantic struggles are propagated over the water surface and detected by the pond skaters that patrol the pond. Soon the first arrives and punctures its prey with its needle-sharp proboscis. In its eagerness to feed it has put its foot through the wing of the drwning wasp.

Soon another pond skater arrives ...

.... and another.

They home in like a pack of wolves ....

... until the doomed wasp is completely surrounded...

... and the feeding frenzy begins.

14 comments:

  1. queue The Ride of the Valkyries, by Richard Wagner

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  2. Oh wow, that's amazing. I see pond skaters most days on my walks in the local woods or on guided walks at work, but have not seem them feeding! Brilliant series of shots.

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  3. Scary! This can mean the subject for the next Hollywood sci-fi movie!

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  4. Another superbly observed event in natural history Phil. Until now I had never given a thought to what pond skaters feed on and would not have imagined they tackled something on this scale.

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  5. Goodness, I am constantly amazed by what goes on around me. Fantastic images again Phil.

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  6. Great post. I've never seen water striders do this.

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  7. Perfect sound track Danny! Maybe the music from Jaws too?

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  8. Hi swanscot, the pond skaters turn up in large numbers when I clear the duckweed off the pond.

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  9. Hi lotusleaf, the pond skaters arecamazing predators - I've see them attach tadpoles.

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  10. Hi Adrian, I once saw one of the frogs in the pond swallow a wasp that had come down to drink. The frog looked a bit alarmed, but swallowed it...

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  11. I think they mostly go for smaller prey Rob, but they're great opportunists..

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  12. Hi Toffeeapple, ponds are a great place to witness these nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw encounters

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  13. Hi Katie, it was the first time that I'd witnessed it!

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