What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

More spiders
Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
December 22, 2010 5:30 am
Hi Bugman,
More spider close-ups from Kenya!
Picture 1: Green Huntsman Spider (Olios correvoni)from the family Sparassidae. I watched in awe as all 8 of his legs were removed with surgical precision by a spider-hunting wasp!

Signature: Zarek

Huntsman Spider without Legs

Hi again Zarek,
We are finally getting around to reading and posting your final email, again with three different species that need to be separately archived, and we are in total amazement of this image of an octuple amputee.  We are salivating at the thought that you might have some images of the Spider Wasp in the act of removing the Huntsman Spider’s legs.  If you do, please send us a few.

I wish I had that picture!!!  I didn’t have my camera on me when the whole thing went down.  I had to run and get it after marking the spot where the dead spider lay – after the fact.
Here’s what happened:
I saw a spider hanging on a single strand of silk from a tree branch and saw something flying around it.  Whatever it was that was flying flew straight into the spider and there was a bit of a tussle mid-air.  Then the insect flew off, leaving the spider flailing wildly from its silk strand.  The wasp (though I didn’t realize it was a wasp until later) flew back, hit the spider once more and the spider dropped to the ground.  I quickly got up from where I was sitting and called other people over.  We watched this wasp systematically, and with surgical precision, cut off each leg of the spider with its mandibles.  The spider seemed to give no resistance, so I assume that last hit from the wasp was a sting that either killed it or anaesthetized it.
Once all 8 legs (minus the pedipalps you see in the picture) had been removed, the wasp picked up the spider under its belly with its two middle legs and began walking across the pebbles it was on.  Some distance away, it stopped, flew off, then flew back again and stuck its stinger into the spider’s head. Do Pompilidae wasps oviposit in Huntsman spiders’ heads??  I’ll look it up and find out.
The wasp then flew off and didn’t come back.
One of the most exciting wildlife kills I’ve ever seen in the Mara!
Here’s a link describing almost exactly what I saw:
http://www.sciencentre.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Insects/Wasps+and+bees/Common+species/Spider+Wasps
However, as I said, the wasp did not carry it away very far.  It certainly didn’t carry it to a burrow.
Oh ya, it was a Batozonellus spp. wasp from the family Pompilidae (subfamily pompilinae)

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Africa

3 Responses to Green Huntsman Spider from Kenya: Octuple amputee after Wasp Attack!!!

  1. clickbeetle says:

    That poor spider! I already think being parasitized by a spider wasp must be one of the top 10 worst ways to die (be thankful there are none that attack humans), and having all your legs bitten off just adds insult to injury.

    Perhaps the purpose of biting off the legs is to make it fit easier in a narrow burrow, or be easier to carry.

  2. ajayner says:

    OH MY GOODNESS! I found a smallish (body roughly 6-8mm long) green spider which had had its legs removed by some creature or another, and I had been searching for possible culprits… I even thought perhaps it was my much-younger brother, as I found it on my parents’ patio table. It was such a mystery at the time, but the possibility that it was a wasp is very neat!

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