Haute cuisine

August 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

On any walk, I'm always searching the weeds for signs of Praying Mantis activity, and today, in the underbrush by the millpond, I found my quarry. The large and powerful insect had snagged an equally powerful, though smaller, black Sphex wasp, one of those ferocious solitary hunters that capture various prey items, drag them into tunnels the wasps have excavated, paralyze the unfortunate victim with a quick sting, and then lay an egg, which, eventually, will hatch and consume the Zombified invertebrate from the inside out. It's pretty gruesome, but this Mantis kind of turned the tables. The hunter grabbed the Sphex with its unforgiving and inescapable front "praying" claws and then, starting with the stinger and ovipositor end of the abdomen, proceeded to eat the wasp alive. As I watched the chilling drama unfold, the Sphex was still wriggling and its head kept turning from side to side, even as its digestive system steadily disappeared down the Mantis's jaws. Nature isn't always sweetness and light.


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