Hunter becomes the hunted

Jumping spiders are some of the amazing creatures that share the planet with us. Apart from being powerful hunters, jumping spiders also sport highly animated characteristics that make them wonderful to observe. I wouldn’t be too far off if I were to call them as the ‘Tigers of the arthropod world’. I have talked about them in detail in my two-part series here - Part-I and here - Part-II

Jumping spiders are stealthy hunters and are capable of bringing down prey, far bigger than their own size.

The skills and tools that the jumping spiders possess is unparalleled. Having said that, there is always a ‘BUT’ in every claim, right? That’s how things are in the Natural world.

However powerful one is, there is always someone out there, who is a wee bit more. Nature has a way of ensuring this balance and hence we call Nature, the great leveller. Same applies to the jumping spiders too.

There is a wasp or I should say, a group of wasps that specialise in hunting spiders ( among many others ). The family is referred to as the Spider wasps. The scientific name is Pompilidae. There are over 5000 different species of these wasps spread across the world.

The below encounter of mine transpired during the times of Covid, when we were all locked in our homes. One of those evenings, I strode up to my terrace for a quick walk, as was the routine. This was one of the ways to get some air and also give some movement to the limbs.

As I got there, I noticed some action that was underway in one of the corners. It seemed like something was wiggling. Curious that I am, got close to see what it was and noticed that an insect of some kind was involved in a duel with something that was lying below it. That’s when it hit me. The one on the ground was a jumping spider! I was stunned with amazement! I quickly ran back down to get my camera.

The insect, which I learnt later, was a wasp, a Spider wasp. It had the jumping spider in its grasp.

The wasp was pinning the spider down with full force. I could also see that the spider wasn’t really putting up any fight, it seemed paralysed. After reading up a bit, I got to know that the wasp stings the spider and injects it with its venom, instantly paralysing it. The spider had no chance of an escape here. A jumping spider in this situation is something that I had not imagined.

After getting its job done, having brought the spider down and incapacitating it, the confident wasp seemed to take a breather to re-charge itself.

Post a quick break, the wasp went back to the paralysed, if not dead spider, picked it up and started dragging it up the wall nearby.

The wasp was putting humungous effort into dragging the jumping spider up the vertical face of the wall. Just imagine the amount of strength this little insect carries!

The wasp dragged the spider quite a distance up and took it into its lair, its nest, I presume. The spider would be stored in the nest and would later become the food source for the wasp’s larvae, its next generation. It is known that the Spider wasps deposit their eggs into the body of the dead/incapacitated prey, a jumping spider in this case. As the eggs hatch and the larvae start coming out, they start feeding on the prey, even if it is alive. However gory this might sound, this is the way of Nature, the cycle of life.

Some more interesting facts about these Spider wasps here

Let me know your thoughts below. Until next time, see you.


Interesting. While reading about parasites, I remember reading about such wasps which uses spiders as hosts for laying egg.. The hawk wasp is one such thing!
Reply to Ram

GitHub-flavored Markdown & a sane subset of HTML is supported.