Currently viewing the tag: "food chain"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this spider killer?
Location: perth western Australia
November 16, 2012 11:52 pm
found this in our front garden it had just killed the spider. it was dragging it up our fence.
Could you please tell us what it is.
Signature: martyn white

Spider Wasp captures Huntsman Spider

Hi Martyn,
On a regular basis, generally each year, we get at least on request to identify this spectacular Spider Wasp,
Cryptocheilus bicolor, when it is photographed dragging a Huntsman Spider in Australia.  Only the female Spider Wasp hunts for Huntsman Spiders, and she does not do it to eat.  Rather she provisions a nest with paralyzed, but still living, spiders that provide a food source for her brood.  Dead spiders would quickly dry up and become inedible for the developing larva.  If the spider is merely paralyzed, it remains alive and the larva feeds on the nonvital organs first, ensuring the the meal will always remain fresh.  This same behavior is constant in Spider Wasps from around the world, regardless of the species.  The North American Tarantula Hawksare among the world’s largest Spider Wasps. 

Spider Wasp with Huntsman Spider prey

Thank you being new to Australia I have just moved here from the uk, I thought it was an amazing thing to see.
Your site is amazing too, a real font of knowledge, I have sent a link to my son in the uk who loves this stuff.
Thanks again

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spined soldier bug?
Location: Stafford, VA
November 12, 2012 7:11 pm
We spotted this creature on the side of one of our beehives. He appears to be eating a honeybee. Is it what I think it is–a spined soldier bug?
Signature: growgreen, VA south of DC

Spined Soldier Bug eats Honey Bee

Dear growgreen,
This predatory Stink Bug does appear to be a Spined Soldier Bug,
Podisus maculiventris.  Though they are beneficial predators, we would recommend relocating it away from your hives.

Thank you very much for this identification and advice.
Love your site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Pholcus phalangioides Behavior
Location: Jamul, California
November 11, 2012 7:58 pm
Today we watched as a group of cellar spiders first fought over and then communally dined on a trapped housefly.

Cellar Spiders trap a Fly

One of the larger spiders chased the others away, at one point almost appearing to ”box” with another. Then the bigger spider spent some time shoring up the web around the fly. Finally, all the spiders moved in, jockeyed for position, and peacefully settled down to dine. I’ve never witnessed this behavior before; needless to say, it was fascinating!
Signature: lkyoder

Cellar Spiders Dine

Dear lkyoder,
We are speechless at this awesome documentation and the spectacular close up photograph of this communal feeding behavior of the very domestic and harmless Cellar Spiders. We will speculate more later.

How many Legs do you count?

LOL. Then my work here is done!  Looking forward to alternative interpretations of what we observed.
Thanks, Dan, for looking and for all the hard work that you do!

Hi again Leslie,
We suspect the largest spider is most likely a female and perhaps she was “boxing” with another female as a means of exerting her dominance.  We wonder what advantage there is to communal feeding.  This is such a fascinating posting.  Thanks again for sending it in.

Hi, Dan.
I joked on facebook that perhaps this is what Thanksgiving dinner looks like when you’re a cellar spider.
They were there for hours, incidentally. This morning, all are dispersed. . . .

Update from Leslie
Hi, Dan. As you have no doubt figured out, I keep a very spider-friendly home. As a result, I’ve got a lot of webs, but the pic below I felt worth sharing. More cellar spider work, this was woven in the circular piece that tops a lampshade harp. I’d like to think that those of us who accommodate spiders get our own personal dream-catcher from time to time.

Dreamcatcher Web of a Cellar Spider

Hi Leslie,
Though we have Cellar Spiders in our cottage office without a basement, we have never witnessed this communal dining nor the dreamcatcher web.  We do love the way Cellar Spiders shake their webs when they are disturbed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: wasp carrying spider
Location: San Diego
November 5, 2012 4:51 pm
I photographed this wasp that was carrying off an unfortunate spider, in my back yard. Managed to get a few decent macro pics before they disappeared. Unfortunately I couldn’t locate a nest.
Signature: Doug

Spider Wasp with Prey

Dear Doug,
This is a wonderful image of a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae with its prey.  Female Spider Wasps sting and paralyze spiders.  They then drag or fly with the spiders to a usually underground nest and then lay an egg on the spider.  The spider is still alive, but helpless, and the developing wasp larva eats it alive.  We believe we have identified your Spider Wasp as
Dipogon calipterus thanks to this image on BugGuide.

Hi Daniel
Many thanks. I’ll have to inspect the ground carefully to try to find a nest and try to capture the next stages of the unfortunate spider’s sllow demise.

Please let us know if you do Doug.  What’s That Bug? would love to post additional stages in the life cycles of this Food Chain contribution.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orb Weaver
Location: San Francisco, CA
October 10, 2012 2:09 am
This Orbweaver is residing in my backyard. I suspect it is either a Cross Orbweaver or a Western Spotted Orbweaver, but I was wondering if you could better identify it. I have seen it for the past three days, and today I found it whilst it was wrapping up what appeared to be a honey bee.
Signature: Ben Miller

Cross Spider

Hi Ben,
In our opinion, this is a Cross Spider or Cross Orbweaver,
Araneus diadematus, which you can verify on BugGuide.  Cross Spiders have the distinction of being the first spiders sent into space when Anita and Arabella were launched aboard Skylab 3 in 1973.

I really appreciate your site. Thank you for all the great info and pictures.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Female California Mantis
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
September 23, 2012

Female  Mantis

The staff didn’t feel like cooking lunch today, so we headed out for a Fusion Burger in Highland Park.  On the way to the car, we spotted this female California Mantis on the power box and headed back in for the camera and we took a few photographs.  We suspect she may have been displaced since we have been trimming trees and shrubs this weekend, and we always leave the lid on the green bin open in the event that any critters were thrown away with the branches.  She was found not far from the green bin.
For the past few weeks, we have been seeing male California Mantids near the porch light, and we have already made several postings.  After lunch we relocated this plump female California Mantis to the basil plant in the front garden, and within 30 seconds she had caught a Honey Bee.  Another curious Honey Bee kept on checking out what was happening with her hive mate as the luckless bee was eaten.

Female Mantis eats Honey Bee

Update:  January 2, 2013
We received a comment correcting our identification and informing us that this is
Stagmomantis limbata, not the California Mantis in the same genus.  We are linking to the BugGuide page while we await clarification how to distinguish one species from the other.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination