Iron Age house at Westhay (by Wessex Archaeology on Flickr)
Murder Most Foul…..
A few days ago I was witness to a most brutal predator/prey interaction.
I was alerted by a rustling in the leaf litter where I found this adult stick insect (about 25cm in length) furiously trying to escape the large wasp taking huge chomps out of its back. I presume this is a Polistes sp. paper wasp but a large one at around 25mm in length. The obvious aim of the wasp was to debilitate its prey by the swiftest means possible - by severing through the entire abdomen, wings and all, and cleaving the stick insect into two. It achieved this with ease and the hapless stick insect, now minus its abdomen and incapable of flight, took to frantic climbing and clambering to escape. The wasp however clawed its way further along towards the head making deep incisions as it went. After about five minutes the stick insect succumbed to this relentless mutilation.
I thought the choice of prey by this wasp was unusual but in hindsight, the stick insect is an easy target as it has little defence against such an onslaught other than the ability to avoid it in the first place by concealment. It is perhaps that helplessness on the part of a large, gentle victim that makes it seem so cruel.
So…..a one-off observation? Two days later and I was witness to the exact same scenario in a similar location between another adult phasmid and a paper wasp. The chain of events and strategy was precisely the same.
Is anyone else aware of similar wasp/stick insect predator/prey relationships or this a regional evolutionary adaption of a predatory species to what is available?
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu’er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese insects and spiders on my Flickr site HERE……
Mongoose feeding on a King Cobra
Renndølsetra, Norway with the Innerdal tower in the background. Norwegians have been planting greenery atop their houses for hundreds of years. Some have flowers mixed in with grass, and a few even have small trees. The verdant roofs have many advantages like the fact that they help stabilize homes, provide good insulation and are long-lasting.
AN EPIC BATTLE ENSUES!
A black-tailed prairie dog gets the jump on a rival in a snowy mating-season fight. A new study published March 8 in the journal Science finds that female prairie dogs like to stay close to mom. Unlike many species that move away from their families to avoid competing with kin, female prairie dogs are more likely to disperse when their families move away.
(via: Live Science)
(Image courtesy of Elaine Miller Bond, www.elainemillerbond.com)