photo: spider wasp in action – when the hunter becomes the prey

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spider wasps (pompilidae) are – in a nutshell – really badass insects.
to provide food for their larvae, these wasps go hunting for spiders that are usually bigger than themselves. spiders are paralysed, placed in a small burrow or tunnel, and used as fresh food for a single egg/larva that is laid into them just before the nest is closed.

a spider wasp (pompilidae) carrying its paralysed spider prey

carrying something around that’s heavier than yourself is obviously quite a bit of work. here’s a short image sequence which shows how the wasp hauls its prey across the ground:

a spider wasp (pompilidae) carrying its paralysed spider prey

click to load higher resolution version (5 MB)

 

on a different occasion, i encountered another, much smaller spider wasp with its prey – a small crab spider (thomisidae) – and even had my lytro camera handy:


(lytro living picture: click to refocus, click&drag for perspective shift)
(view on lytro.com

more light field pictures are available in the spider wasp lytro-album.

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