What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cryptocheilus bicolor and …
Location: Perth, Western Australia
March 28, 2013 2:42 am
Dear Bugman
Recently captured few images and recognised the wasp from your site as Cryptocheilus bicolor (I think). Was interested to know what kind of spider it was. The picture were taken in Perth, Western Australia.

Spider Wasp battles with Wolf Spider

Spider Wasp battles with Wolf Spider

At first the wasp was the victim, and being dragged by the spider (yesterday). Wasp managed to get a sting in to ”seemingly” paralyse the spider, as it was still alive the following day (today).

Spider Wasp paralyzes Wolf Spider

Spider Wasp paralyzes Wolf Spider

The wasp has been dragging the spider around and attempted to get it to it’s nest in the roof… was a bit of a struggle and continually dropped it as it reached ceiling height, only to pick it up and drag it up the wall again! It now lies abandoned on the ground… seems to still have a little bit of life left in it! I think the wasp will be back for it… (?)
Signature: Marlise Nel

Wolf Spider Eyes

Wolf Spider Eyes

Hi Marlise,
Thank you for sending us your wonderful photos and your detailed observations of this Food Chain drama.  The Orange Spider Wasp, Cryptocheilus bicolor, feeds on both Huntsman Spiders and Wolf Spiders according to the Brisbane Insect Website.  We typically get photos of them feeding on Huntsman Spider and we believe this is the first example we have received of a Wolf Spider as the prey.  In your second photo, the face of the spider is perfectly facing the camera, so it was easy to make out the eye arrangement and match it to the eye arrangement of the Wolf Spiders.  Spider Eye Arrangements are posted to BugGuide.  One correction we would like to make on your observations is your mention of a rooftop nest.  Spider Wasps burrow underground, and this spider was intended not as food for the female wasp that hunted it, but rather for her brood.  Since it would be nearly impossible for the Spider Wasp to gain altitude from the ground while transporting such a large spider, it is common to see the wasps climb to a height and glide to the nest with the prey in tow.  Since we will be away from the office during the holiday, we are postdating your submission to go live early next week.

Spider Wasp dragging Wolf Spider up a wall

Spider Wasp dragging Wolf Spider up a wall

Dear Daniel
Delighted to hear from you!  Thank you so much for going to the trouble of replying with such detailed information.
Have since seen the videos of her dragging her prey underground 🙂  Horribly cruel, yet resourceful execution…
Best
Marlise

 

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Perth, Western Australia

5 Responses to Spider Wasp with Wolf Spider in Australia

  1. Kylie says:

    I have spider wasp nests several feet off the ground. One is up a wall and the second is attached to a brick tank stand. The nest on the tank stand was recently constructed and I watched a spider wasp go in and out of it only a couple of days ago, so I beg to differ in that they nest only underground.

    • bugman says:

      According to the Brisbane Insect site: “Most members in this family are large wasps. All of them are solitary insect. The female mates and then prepares nests (usually on ground in soil) and food for her young.” It should be pointed out that other wasps from different families prey upon spiders. Mud Daubers, including the Organ Pipe Mud Dauber pictured on the Study of Northern Virginia Ecology website provision nests with spiders. So in conclusion, most Spider Wasps from the family Pompiliidae nest underground, and not all wasps that prey upon spiders are members of the Spider Wasp Family. We cannot say for certain without images if your wasps are an exception to the norm of most Spider Wasps, or if your wasps are in a different family and still prey upon spiders.

  2. JP says:

    Yesterday I watched a spider wasp carry a huntsman at least 30 meters from the back of my house, up walls, through shrubs, down the side of the house and across the street. And after all that trouble, a kookaburra spotted her and gobbled the pair of them up. It was amazing. I filmed it on the mobile only to find later that it somehow didn’t work. Damn.

    • bugman says:

      What a wonderful sighting of the complexities of the food chain.

    • Sherrie Atkinson says:

      Rather depressing
      After all her hard work!
      Took a pic of one today with a huge Huntsman.
      She was not impressed at me getting too close. Let go a few times and came close to look at me. I respected her personal space!
      I have watched the fight with a huge wolf spider. Went for at least 10 mins. Hornet won …love the name even if not correct.
      We had at least 2 Spider Wasps in the garden on the farm at all times. Don’t see them so much now. Sad.

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