Tarántula Terminator

Picture by Mariana Terra.

Picture by Mariana Terra.

During our first walk around the Rincón del Socorro ranch we came across a large wasp dragging a spider. Although we have seen this several times both in Africa and Latin America, it was the first time we witnessed a confrontation of such large and colourful adversaries. The wasp was about six centimetres long and the spider even larger!

Picture by Mariana Terra.

Picture by Mariana Terra.

Before our arrival a Tarántula Hawk (a wasp of the Pompillidae family) caught a large Tarántula (Grammostola sp.) and was dragging it through the grass. The wasp stings the spider in order to paralyze it and later it lays an egg on it so that its offspring can feed on the inert -but living- arachnid. Apparently (see link below) the young wasp eats the spider’s non-vital organs first so that the paralyzed spider remain as a supply of fresh food for some time.

The Spider compared with a -muddy- foot...

The Spider compared with a -muddy- foot…

The female wasp (males do not hunt) was determined to keep hold of her prey, and clearly looking for her burrow or a place to bury the spider.

Life is, albeit rarely, also dangerous for the wasp as she deals with dangerous prey as sometimes she fails and becomes the prey instead of the predator. Even if she wins the battle, she is still very vulnerable while she drags her prey across rough terrain; she is earth bound and reluctant to abandon it.

If you are interested in more details I recommend you to consult the following link:

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150109-the-wasp-that-scares-tarantulas

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