posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 01:29 PM
It happened on a beautiful sunny day while I was in park. Relaxing next to an ornate fountain I caught a small disturbance out of the corner of my
eye. About ten feet in the air a small spherical cluster was spinning rapidly. I noticed numerous spindley legs wriggling over the spinning cluster. I
tried to focus more intently on the wildly spinning cluster and finally realized that I was seeing a spider and some other insect grappling with each
other at the end of the spider's thread which must have been anchored on a light post nearby.
I thought the spider had caught some prey and was trying to encase it in its thread, but I still couldn't make out clearly what the presumed prey
was. The spinning midair struggle continued about 30 seconds then, what I had thought to be prey flew off...at which point I saw that it was an
enormous hornet about 1½ to 2 inches in length.
After the hornet flew away, the spider began to descend toward the ground a few inches at a time. The spider also was quite large, as far as spiders
go....about 3 inches from the tip of one of its 8 legs to the tip of the leg opposite to it, with a fat brownish-gray body in the middle. It had
descended only about 10 inches when the hornet reappeared and flew right at the spider.
Once again the two predators grappled in a wildly spiining cluster at the end of the spider's web. They both seemed to be trying to grip the other in
such a way as to inject their poison into them. I was totally riveted on these two deadly combatants as they spun and grappled desperately for just
under a minute. Then, once again, the hornet broke away and took to the air, at which point the spider tried to descend to the ground, but this time
it was letting out thread a lot faster and descended about 2 feet in a split second, but it was still a good 6 feet above the ground when the hornet
flew back and attacked again!
The angry struggle resumed and continued for a half a minute or so at which point the two fell to the ground still locked together in a relentless
struggle of legs and fangs and spider thread. But the battle was over as they hit the sidewalk. The spider was dead or paralyzed....it was no longer
putting up a fight and the hornet was all over it.
After the spider was immobilized for a few seconds the hornet proceeded to bite off the eight legs very precisely at the point where they joined the
body of the spider. Finally, there were 8 bodiless spider legs and a legless spider torso and abdomen in the middle. The hornet then grasped the main
body of the spider in its six legs and took to the air...leaving behind the 8 disembodied legs. It was either going to devour the spider itself or
serve it up as food for its larvae.
The spider was really at a disadvantage since it could only move up or down along its thread, whereas the hornet could maneuver at will in midair and
attack from any direction. It was absolutely riveting and horrifying. Both creatures are appalling to me. But I could not look away. I couldn't have
been more enthralled if it had been a battle between a lion and a tiger! Hornets and spiders ARE the lions and tigers of the insects domain.