The spider hunter

Matthew Chatfield

During lockdown we’ve got quite familiar with our garden. Recently, Cat saw a very large wasp flying about in a cumbersome way. It turned out to be a small hunting wasp which had somehow caught and paralysed a huge spider. Clearly aware that this was a burden she would struggle to carry, she had chewed off all its legs and palps, but could still hardly lift it. By the time I had got my camera she was on the ground and furiously trying to work out how to lift the thing and get it home. Eventually a tiny wasp came along and started climbing over the comatose spider, and this seemed to be too much for the irate mother hunter, who was already realising that she had bitten off more than she could chew. She flew off, and although we waited, didn’t return.

The spider just lay there – what else could it do? The next day it had gone, no doubt some ants had found it and thought it a fine meal.

Matthew Chatfield

Uncooperative crusty. Unofficial Isle of Wight cultural ambassador. Conservation, countryside and the environment, with extra stuff about spiders.

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