Threaten Sign    


Insects as Predators

How to prey ?

Followings are the examples that we recorded insect as predator.

Why Praying Mantids move in step towards its prey? 

When a Praying Mantids moving towards its prey, they move in step, i.e.., they move forwards a little bit and then stop, a seconds later, it move another step and then stop, until they reach their prey. This kind of motion may be more famous in the chameleon and some of the lizards. They move in steps and stop. We can also  see this kinds of movement in some spiders. This may look funny to our human eyes, but I think there is the advantage for so many animal are doing this. Since all of them are predator to insects, I spectacular that this kind of motions could be invisible to insects eyes. This kind of motions may be not sensitive to the insect eyes. So the insects predators evolutes this kind of motions to approach the prey. 

When the praying mantid is very close to it prey, why it starts to swing it head side way? Why the eyes of praying mantid are separated more than other insects?

We can also notice that when the praying mantid is very close to the prey, it start to swing it head left and right. I gauss the praying mantid doing this is to measure the distance from the prey accurately.  By swinging its head, the mantid create the viewing angle with the prey, as the above picture. With the larger viewing angle, the more accurate distance can be calculated.
The larger view angle can also explain why the praying mantids have their eyes more separated than the other insects so that they can locate precisely their prey at close distance

The Cicada Sound beside calling for mate

Different cicada species sings different song. From the song we can tell the cicada species. 

One hot summer weekend when I was working in front of my computer on this Brisbane Insects and Spiders web site, as usual I heard many of this Floury Baker Cicadas singing outside in our backyard on the Maple tree. Suddenly I heard a new cicada song. The song had quite different pattern which I had never heard before. I thought there must be a new species of cicadas came to visit us. I immediately took my camera outside and look for it.

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What I found was not a new cicada species. Instead it was a Floury Baker Cicada attacked by a Praying Mantid. The cicada might try to deter the mantid but with no luck.

Case Moth Caterpillar attacked by Ichneumon Wasp

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Case 50mm in length
Living in the case does not guarantee safety.  In early spring we found this case moth caterpillar (Leaf Case Moth) attacked by a Ichneumon Wasp on a Acacia tree. Although the caterpillar was protected by its case bag, it seemed it was useless to prevent the attack from the wasp. We saw the caterpillar head come out a few times try to get rid of the wasp but no use either. The wasp kept on punching her long ovipositor into the case bag for over halve an hour.

The Spider Wasp found a spider

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We took those pictures in Karawatha Forest during mid summer. The spider had paralyzed when we found them. The spider seemed too large for the wasp to handle. We watched for 15 minutes and did not move a bit. 

A Potter Wasp finds a prey 

A Potter Wasp found a prey. It was a small caterpillar hiding in its shelter. The shelter was built by silk binding leaves together. The caterpillar seemed quite safe inside. However, after the wasp confirmed there was a caterpillar inside, the wasp cut open a small hole and stung the caterpillar. Then the wasp cut the leaves and got the caterpillar back to its 'Pot' as the food of her offspring.
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Delta sp. subfamily EUMENINAE, body length 18mm

A Paper Wasp Worker Found a Large Caterpillar

In a early summer afternoon, we saw a Paper Wasp worker found a large caterpillar among the flowers. The caterpillar was creamy-white in colour with a blue-green head, look like a Skipper Butterfly larva. The caterpillar was too heavy for the wasp to carry away.
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The wasp pull the caterpillar to the top of a flower bud and start to cut its body with her sharp mouthparts. We noticed that that caterpillar was dead and part of its body was missing. This indicated that this may be the second time the wasp came back to the caterpillar, or other insect/wasp may have found and cut the caterpillar first.
The wasp cut a large piece from the caterpillar and carefully pack it into ball shape for easy carrying. Then she started to fly back home to feed their larvae. We noticed that the wasp circle around over the caterpillar body a few time before she disappear. We believed she did that to recognize the location so that she could come back after deliver the meal.

A bug captured by Tree Ants

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The bug had tried to escape but was held tightly by the ants. A few minutes later, about ten more ants came and each held the legs and antenna of the bug. More and more ants came to help. Some ants started to climb on the bug's body and bite off its wings. I think this is to prevent its escape. Notice that there was an ant, which was slightly larger in size (in the top left corner of each pictures), standing behind those ants. It seemed it was the commander of this bug-catching operation. It never helped to hold the bug, but its touching the smaller ants in turn could be giving instructions. 

Ant lion's Trap

The sand traps are about 40mm diameter. The Antlion sit at the middle of the trap, covered by sands. When an ant walk inside the trap, some sands fall into the centre alert the Antlion, then it flicks more sands to the ant and cause the 'land sliding'. The ant then fall towards the centre and the Antlion attacks the ant by its long jaws. 
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Up ] Insects as Prey ] [ Insects as Predators ] Insects and Plants ] Escape strategy ] Caterpillar Escape ] Mole Cricket Song ] Cow Pea Aphids ] Feigning Death Behaviour ] Eucalyptus Leaf Beetle ] Insects Migration ] Attended by Ants ]


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Last updated: January 13, 2009.