A few weeks ago as I was walking up the path to the shed I saw this ….
an adult Pompilid Wasp had caught a juvenile Rain Spider, and after stinging and paralyzing it, was proceeding to drag it back to its nest. Once there -if it had not done so already – it would deposit an egg in the spider, and after around 20 days the lavae would hatch and proceed to eat the still-very-much-alive spider inside out.
If you have watched any of the Alien movies you will know what is install for the spider.
As much as I really wanted to save the spider I have learned from painful experience that once a spider is in this predicament there is usually little one can do.
At that moment, one of our cats emerged from behind the shed and the wasp flew off, leaving the paralyzed spider on the path.
Pick it up?
Of course, if the wasp can’t have one spider it will track down and paralyze another. That’s nature.
So I decided to leave well alone and prepared to wait for the wasp’s return. However, after ten minutes the wasp was a no show. I waited another ten and still no wasp. After twenty minutes it was a fair guess the wasp was not coming back.
So … I picked up the spider and brought it into the shed.
As unlikely the chance of survival, there was at least a chance that the wasp had not deposited its egg in the spider.
After a day or two he seemed to respond a little but there was still serious paralysis caused by the venom and especially on his right side.
Here you can just see the spider is moulting, shedding for the first of several times. There is sign of recovery, but there is still chance the wasp may have laid its egg.
The extent of the damage eventually caused the spider to shed its right back leg, and the remaining three legs on this side are still not functioning properly.
However, this weekend sees the 24th day since the wasp attack and although looking a little thin, and still not managing to eat yet, the spider is at least taking a little daily water and seems to be gamely hanging in there,
and, I am happy to report even tried to bite me yesterday, which I consider a good sign.
Whether he will fully recover, remains to be seen.
Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time means one gets to play International Rescue.