Wasp and Spider
January 22, 2014 2:45 pm
Dear Mr Marlos,
This is the stream in which that spider was found. Incidentally just for your interest as i was standing on one of these boulders this blue winged insect (perhaps a wasp?) the size of my big toe landed, when if flew off it left this carcass of a large spider it had been carrying about underneath.
Hi again N. Sathesh,
Your new images have us very intrigued and we are creating a brand new posting. This blue winged creature is most definitely a wasp, but we are not certain if it is a Spider Wasp in the family Pompillidae. The situation with the spider is very interesting. We believe the Wasp bit the legs off the Spider to make it easier to transport. In situations like this where a Wasp preys on a Spider or other insect, the prey is generally paralyzed to provide a food source for a larva. We will try to identify this fascinating Wasp. It resembles this Spider Wasp from Borneo on Alex Hyde’s website.
Update: 14 May 2016
Thanks to a comment from Bukit Lawang, we are able to provide a link to this Spider Wasp, Deuteragenia ossarium, on the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) site where it was selected as one of the Top 10 New Species discovered the previous year and named the Bone-House Wasp. While we have no problem now classifying this as a Spider Wasp in the family Pompilidae, we are not fully convinced it is a Bone-House Wasp. According to ESF: ” This insect, which tops out at about a half-inch (15mm) in length, has a unique way to protect its offspring. The wasp constructs nests in hollow stems with several cells, each separated by soil walls. The wasp kills and deposits one spider in each cell to provide nourishment for her developing young. Once her egg is laid, she seals off the cell and hunts a spider for the next cell. Rather than provisioning the final or vestibule cell with a spider, she fills it with as many as 13 bodies of dead ants, thus creating a chemical barrier to the nest. This is the first animal known to take this approach to securing the front door to a nest. This species, found in Gutianshan National Nature Reserve in eastern China, has significantly lower parasitism rates than similar cavity-nesting wasps. Camouflage is supplied by a veil of volatile chemicals emitted by the dead ants, thwarting enemies that hunt wasp larvae by scent.”