Question and photo…
In our garage we have lots of these small, grey, oval-shaped things hanging from the ceiling. There appears to be something like a small worm protruding from the top. Sometimes, I see these little guys climbing up walls – then you can see the worm/caterpillar-like bug doing its thing. Any idea what they are? Also, please find attached a photo I took of a wasp dragging a very large Huntsman spider across our back yard here in Sydney, up over the fence, and then away in our neighbour’s yard. Best regards,
Your mysterious things sound like Case Bearing Moth Larvae. We get letters concerning them from many parts of the globe. Your Spider Wasp and Huntsman Spider photo is positively gorgeous.
Further Query: (01/03/2008)
In the wasp and huntsman photo I sent you, can you please tell me the type of wasp? I had the photo published in a local paper and someone wrote in to say that this wasp is not a chalcidoidea, but of the symphyta suborder. Can you please clarify? Also, I watched this wasp drag that spider 15 metres across my lawn and then haul it up over the fence and into the neighbour’s garden. I presume this is to take the spider to a prepared burrow in order to lay an egg with it. The writer in the newspaper says our wasps in Australia do no such thing, but there’s the photo. Again, can you expand upon the behaviour of the wasp in the photo? Best regards,
Between 17 December 2006 and 22 January 2007, we received four letters from Australia of Spider Wasps with Huntsman Spider prey. They can be found in several places on our website, but they are grouped together on the Wasp 3 page. None of those photos are anywhere near as gorgeous as the one you sent. At that time, we correctly identified the Wasp as Cryptocheilus bicolor, a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae. The Australia Museum Online site has a photo and information including: “Spider wasps are often seen digging in soft sandy soil, dragging huntsman spiders along. The wasps you are most likely to see and hear are female wasps preparing nest chambers for their larvae. They dig a burrow using long spines on their front legs, then search rapidly around tree trunks and on the ground for a spider. The wasp stings the spider to paralyse it, and drags it back to the burrow. She then lays an egg on the spider’s body, and seals it in a chamber or cell at the end of the burrow. The larva hatches and feeds on the body of the spider before pupating in a thin silky cocoon in the cell.” If the Australia Museum site isn’t enough evidence for you to dispell the misinformation supplied by the person who wrote to the newspaper, you can also turn to the Brisbane Insect website.