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I Witnessed a Fight to the Death between a Hornet and a Spider

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posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 01:29 PM
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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. Unforgettable!




posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 01:42 PM
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Dude where do you live? I though giant wasps only lived in Japan?

Anyway, I've seen video of about thirty 2 inch wasps attacking an entire bee colony, yes, and they won too, with little casualties. It was really something to watch.



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 01:55 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
Dude where do you live? I though giant wasps only lived in Japan?

Anyway, I've seen video of about thirty 2 inch wasps attacking an entire bee colony, yes, and they won too, with little casualties. It was really something to watch.


I'm in Illinois. Maybe they flew across the ocean! Wouldn't surprise me.

Wow! An entire bee colony and the wasps won. Man, I hope those things don't get any bigger! It may have been awsome to watch the film but it is absolutely incredible to view those predators LIVE in front of your eyes.

There are some terrible creatures in the insect world that would make lions seem like pussy cats if they grew to the size of a lion



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 02:07 PM
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Yes they won, it helped that they were 5 times bigger than the bee's and that they could rip a bee apart with no effort. It was really something to watch, the bee's defended the colony to the death, literally, almost all of them died. They would charge a wasp but it was pointless they just got thrown down very quickly and then with one bite just get cut in half, almost. They couldn't even stop a giant wasp from hovering, it was like they were running into a wall.

Anyway, they should have had a better strategy. They should have all packed the entrances to the hive and allowed only one opening, lure a few of the wasps in and pack the opening shut while the wasp's inside were charged by hundreds of bee's at once and overwhelmed. Then they should have repeated this process over and over. Instead they were just attacking the wasps out in the open one by one or two at a time, not a good strategy.

Oh yeah, I forgot, they are insects, they cant really plot a grand strategy.


Just to add, this is what I was referring to.

Giant Hornet

[edit on 30-8-2006 by WestPoint23]



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 02:11 PM
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In the midwest we can get some pretty big hornets. I have personally seen hornets which were at least 2"-2 1/2" inches long, suprised the bajeezus out of me when I first found one on my screen door.

I guess we just grow 'em big out on the farm



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by WestPoint23
They would charge a wasp but would it was pointless they just got thrown down very quickly and then with one bite just get cut in half, almost.

Yeah. Those hornets have some powerful jaws. It can be kind of gruesome the way they mutilate their victims. I was horrified when I saw the hornet snip off all 8 legs from the spider. It was almost a nightmarish spectacle in broad daylight. Just the sight of a spider is horrific, but to see it get all 8 of its hairy legs nipped off is the stuff of horror flicks.



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 02:32 PM
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Originally posted by DropInABucket
In the midwest we can get some pretty big hornets. I have personally seen hornets which were at least 2"-2 1/2" inches long, suprised the bajeezus out of me when I first found one on my screen door.

I guess we just grow 'em big out on the farm


They are too big at two inches as far as I'm concerned. Man, you don't want one of those flying critters latching onto your arm, that's for sure! I too, have gotten too close a look at those two inch hunters and I want to tell you, those hornets have one of the meanest looking insect faces I have ever seen. Just look right at their face, if you get the chance, and you will know exactly what I mean. Spider are scary looking, but hornets just look MEAN!



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 02:47 PM
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intresting post skyway, thanks for sharing....nature is awesome!



posted on Aug, 30 2006 @ 03:44 PM
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Originally posted by optimus fett
intresting post skyway, thanks for sharing....nature is awesome!


Thanks at you optimus fett! I'm glad to know that you enjoyed the post. It was quite a spectacle. I agree wholeheartedly that nature presents unlimited marvels to us! The best things...the most beautiful things...the most mysterious and enchanting things....are free -- through nature!



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