Orange Spider Wasp

Orange spider wasp (Cryptocheilus bicolor) parasitizing Huntsman spider (Sparassidae). Notice the wasp grasping one of the huntsman spider’s fangs; photographed after pursuit [3]

I spotted this large wasp flying around a bush, constantly entering from different angles. After waiting for several minutes, the wasp finally emerged with a huntsman spider, scurrying across the ground in search of its burrow. The wasp’s speed made it very challenging to get good footage and photos!

Below is a video of a spider wasp constructing a burrow and depositing a paralyzed wolf spider (Lycosidae) inside. I filmed this in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica in July 2017. Skip to 01:25 to see the exciting part.

After watching the spider wasp for a few minutes, I wondered why it seemed to always come back to the spot where I was standing. I gave her some space and realized she was excavating a burrow with a paralyzed spider right nearby. Vegetation was cleared to get better footage. After pulling the spider into the burrow, the wasp took about 5-10 minutes to fill in and conceal the burial site. Spider wasps lay a single egg on the spider before burial, and once the parasitoid larva hatches it will consume the spider hemolymph as it grows, pupate in a silk cocoon, and emerge from the ground as an adult.

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