Subject: Unkown flying insect dragging a dead spider
Location: South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne Vic. Aust.
March 20, 2013 4:38 am
I found this page while trying to identify this insect on the various bug sites and having no success, so am hoping that you can identify this insect.
I have never seen one before and was astonished to see it dragging a dead spider up the brickwork next to my front door.
The bricks are 8cm deep and this insect had to be 3.5cm long. It moved very fast and was also able to fly short distances with the dead spider in tow.
The shot was taken in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne at 5.45pm on the 20 March 2013. The weather today was 29c and humidity at about 40%. We have recently had a very dry hot spell of weather with a heavy down pour a few days earlier, so don’t know if this has any bearing on the presence of this insect.
The first photo is the sharpest, but I have included the others even if they are a bit blurred as you can get a side view of the insect .
The insect has a black body and yellow/orange wings, legs and head and it looks like from the 3rd very blurred photo that the rear end tip of the insect is also yellow/orange.
I am really hoping that you can identify it, as everyone I have showed these photos to has never seen anything like it and also has no idea what sort of flying insect it is.
Cheers and Thanks
We could have made your identification by your subject line alone considering the time of year. Each year at this time (winter in our Los Angeles offices but summer in Australia) we receive several submissions of Spider Wasps, often your species which is Cryptocheilus bicolor, dragging Huntsman Spiders in Australia. The spider is actually paralyzed and not dead. The wasp is a female and she will provision her nest with paralyzed spiders to feed her brood. When the eggs hatch, the young larvae will feed upon the nonvital organs first as the helpless spider is eaten alive. Thanks for sending such a wonderful photograph since the ones we posted earlier in the month are blurry.
Wow, Thank you for replying so promptly. A Spider Wasp, amazing, unfortunately, she lost her prey when she tried to drag it through an outdoor blind, so hopefully the spider recovered.