Yes, we did have a nice leopard sighting at Kabini (photo and video will follow)…but to all of us, the real highlight of the trip was the wonderful drama that unfolded before our eyes…and at our feet! It was Life Under Foot at its riveting best.
Here is the main protagonist (is there a word called “protagonistess”?)…the female
If you click on the name, you’ll get the story of what they do, to be called Spider Wasps. And …that’s what we saw!
Here’s the victim who’s going to become food for the babies:
Doesn’t it look fearsome?…and yet, it’s the prey, not the predator this time!
When Shreeram first spotted her, she was flying around, and I got her doing a long set of calisthenics from the edge of the men's tent:
I am not sure why she was doing this, was she limbering up for the coming stretch of very hard work?
Then we saw that there was a dead
at the base of the wall, and we quickly realized that we were looking at a mother laying the foundation of her nursery, and stocking the larder for her babies at the same time!
The spider wasn't dead; it was moving feebly.
Spider wasps stun their prey...usually a spider...and then take it underground, bury it and lay eggs on it, so that the babies, when they hatch, have live fresh meat to feed on.
Here's the way Ms Pompilid did it:
Here she is, both injecting venom into the hapless Tarantula:
She then pulls it over the debris that she's thrown up while digging the hole, decides the hole is still too small, and leaves it there while she goes to make the hole bigger:
She then pulls the Tarantula in:
Soon, the spider disappears underground:
She begins covering up the hole from which, in course of time, her babies will emerge:
and here we are, documenting it all:
What a hard-working way of ensuring a good start for one’s children..surely, the equivalent of paying the child’s way through school and college for humans!