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Name
Pompilidae Accepted Name
Spider Wasp
Place
Amboli, Maharashtra 416510, India
Observed
Submitted
Updated
Notes

Sheer Power - Spider wasp carrying a Wolf spider
 

I have many times tried for a decent pic of this awe inspiring Wasp in action.
A few times the wasp would just abandon the spider and fly off. Only to return when I am gone. On 1 occasion though the Wasp actually flew straight to me and tried to sting me in the face, just above the eye brow. The message was loud and clear :-D
 
Fortunately I didn't receive the sting. Instead it ended up being just a forceful hit on the face. It was like being hit by a small pebble!!!
 
This time though I was kinda successful.
Special Thanks goes to Karthik for showing me this spider in Amboli.
 
We were photographing a Prashad's Gecko when he noticed this micro drama taking place on the ground, among the grass.
 
We quickly shifted our focus on this Wasp and slowly approached it, watching its activities.
 
The Wasp was on the ground and comfortably grooming itself, while the paralyzed spider was just beside it.
 
After about 2 minutes of grooming itself, the Wasp returned to the Spider.
It checked the spider from every angle. And then it started doing a strange thing.
 
It seemed like the Wasp was trimming the fur on the spider's abdomen.
We couldn't observe it clearly as the subject was tiny, But the action  depicted the same. I'll post the picture soon...
 
After about 5 minutes of carefully grooming the spider, the Wasp decided to carry the victim to its burrow.
It grabbed the spider by its right Chelicera, lifted it completely off the ground as seen in the picture and started walking towards its destination in a hurried fashion.
 
The Spider was much heavier and bulkier..
But it was no match for the sheer power and agility of the Wasp. 
 
It would climb over minor obstacles and stride around larger ones.
 
It carried the prey for about 15 feet then started climbing a rotten,hollow tree trunk. After ascending 6 feet on the trunk it entered a cavity and vanished from our sight.
 
What an awe-inspiring drama it was!! 
Loved every bit of it.. Happy to have got a decent picture showing the same. :-D
 
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More info about the Spider Wasp for anyone interested:
Spider wasps are solitary wasps that use a single spider as a host for feeding their larvae. They paralyze the spider with a venomous stinger. Once paralyzed, the spider is dragged to where a nest will be built – some wasps having already made a nest. A single egg is laid on the abdomen of the spider, and the nest or burrow is closed.  
 
The size of the host can influence whether the wasp's egg will develop as a male or a female; larger prey yield the (larger) females. A complex set of adult behaviors can then occur, such as spreading soil or inspecting the area, leaving the nest site inconspicuous. When the wasp larva hatches, it begins to feed on the still-living spider. After consuming the edible parts of the spider, the larva spins a silk cocoon and pupates, usually emerging as an adult.
 
Source: Wiki
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Here is a set of pictures showing what happens next: 
http://thewesternghats.indiabiodiversity.org/observation/show/323772
 
Here is a set of pictures showing what will happen to the spider inside the burrow: 
http://thewesternghats.indiabiodiversity.org/observation/show/323789
 
Real world horror movie ain't it? :-)
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  • amboli 21
  • pompilidae 16
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  • wolf spider 6
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  • spider wasp in action 1
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Show 2 older feeds>>
  • vipin baliga : Suggested species name Pompilidae
    Pompilidae
  • Thomas Vattakaven : Featured observation to group The Western Ghats
    Another great documentation by Vipin Baliga of a spider wasp . Spider wasps are solitary wasps that use a single spider as a host for feeding their larvae. They paralyse the spider with a venomous stinger. Once paralysed, the spider is dragged to where a nest will be built – some wasps having already made a nest. A single egg is laid on the abdomen of the spider, and the nest or burrow is closed. 
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