Predator and prey
Location:  Silver Spring, Maryland
October 2, 2010 12:34 pm
Is the predator a bee or a wasp? It the prey a katydid? Found the interactionhappening on our front sidewalk early one evening in September 2010.
Signature:  Steve

European Hornet eats Mantis

Hi Steve,
Your wasp is a Paper Wasp in the genus
Polistes, and we believe it may be Polistes metricus based on photos posted to BugGuide, and the range of the species according to BugGuide.  According to the genus information page on bugguide, Paper Wasps  “Take nectar and juice from ripe fruit. Predatory on other insects (predominantly caterpillars) to feed larvae. The prey is a bit more of a challenge.  We actually believe it to be a small Preying Mantis, possibly the Carolina Mantis, Stagmomantis carolina, which is just over two inches long according to BugGuide. The big question in our mind is whether or not the Paper Wasp killed the Mantis.  We find that hard to believe.  We believe the Mantis may have been attacked by a bird or other predator and had been partially eaten, and the opportunistic Paper Wasp stumbled upon an easy meal for the larvae in the nest.  The foraging Paper Wasps will chew and eat the insect prey and then regurgitate the partially digested meat for the larvae.

Mantis Carcass

November 13, 2011
Mistaken ID
November 13, 2011 9:23 pm
The ‘paper wasp’ eating the mantis is probably actually a European hornet, Vespa crabro.  Paper wasps are less robust and colored differently, and prefer to go after more helpless insects than mantids.  On Youtube there are at least a few videos of hornets of related species attacking healthy mantids successfully.
P.S. I love your website!  Awesome job, and keep it up…don’t listen to the trolls who can’t stand being reminded that drowning things in Raid is a cruel death.
Signature: JC

Dear JC,
Thanks so much for your correction.  We make numerous mistakes, especially in our attempts to post as many submissions as possible, and we really rely upon our readership to write back and correct our errors.

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Location: Maryland

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