SW and YTT! (The expansions just might creep you out!) 060115

About four years ago, I made

this post about the Spider Wasp

(the SW of the title) organizing food for her children yet unborn, by stunning and burying a

Yellow-thighed Tarantula or the Indian Ornamental Spider

(The YTT of the title)

Well, herstory repeated itself while we were at the Cauvery Wild Life Sanctuary.
This

Spider Wasp

had already stunned the Tarantula by the time we saw it.

Unhappy with the first site she had chosen, she dug it out of the ground, and dragged the paralyzed spider at least several yards, as we watched.

Pompilids wasp prepare very carefully for their offspring. They are solitary hunters.

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They use a single spider as a host for feeding their larvae.For some reason, each time I’ve seen this Pompilid wasp, it’s been a Tarantula that they’ve stunned.

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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.

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(here you can see the yellow “thighs” of the Tarantula clearly.)

A single egg is laid on the abdomen of the spider, and the nest or burrow is closed. They protect their nest by putting dead ants into the outermost chamber, the chemicals within deterring predators.

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The size of the host can influence whether the wasp’s egg that will develop as a male or a female; larger prey yield the (larger) females. A complex set of adult behavior can then occur, such as spreading soil or inspecting the area, leaving the nest site inconspicuous.

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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 the next summer. Some wasps lay the egg on a still-active spider, where it feeds externally on hemolymph. In time, that spider will die, and the mature wasp larva will then pupate.

Here she is, dragging the paralyzed Tarantula along (you can see its legs faintly moving)…I’ve zoomed out at the end to show how far away she actually is.

What an amazing way for providing for children that the mother may never even see! What a marvel of Nature.

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