This is the story of a little grasshopper that landed in a spider’s web. I am sad to say, dear readers, that it jumped into the spider’s web to avoid my attentions. As I bent down to photograph it, it jumped, and landed in the web. Almost before the remorse could crystallize in my brain, it was wrapped up – and presumably stung – by a spider; so quickly, so efficiently!
No sooner had the spider trussed up its victim, than it rushed back to what it was doing before it was so rudely interrupted: eating another captive! What struck me was how confident it was that the latest victim could not escape! Just a few moments of bondage – spinning it round and round as it extruded the silk – and the job was done. No way that the little grasshopper was going to escape! It had been bound and trussed, a meal for later, in almost an instance! These spiders have been doing this for a very long time! See previous blog: Spiders, silk and packed lunches.
The bound grasshopper was quickly left as the spider returned to its previous prey item.
The spider returned to another small bound packet: feeding on another prey item (a fly?).
The grasshopper was left dangling in the web, awaiting its demise (below).
I must confess, I find the natural world harsh and cruel sometimes. Seeing a sequence like this is no less startling to me than watching a lion kill and eat an antelope. A free-living creature suddenly becomes food for another. In a blink of an eye. Predator and prey. It’s the natural world, but no less shocking for that.
I think the grasshopper was the Large Banded Grasshopper (Arcyptera fusca) (below).
And the spider was a fairly small Wasp spider, Argiope bruennichi (below).
Photographed on 30 August 2018, in Galicia, Spain.
I am a retired entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.