Sunday, August 31, 2014
On Saturday morning, I went outside my back door and nearly walked face-first into a caterpillar that had spun a silken thread to descend from the canopy of the huge sycamore tree that grows behind the house. I was in and our of the house several times over the course of a half hour, and the caterpillar was there each time I went in and out.
Then, I saw that a wasp had discovered the caterpillar and was taking advantage of this juicy morsel that was as large as the wasp. For several minutes, the wasp clung to the caterpillar. In the image, it looks as if the wasp may have its mandibles around the caterpillar's neck, but I couldn't get a close look because the caterpillar was swaying in the breeze.
Finally, as I watched, the wasp tried to fly away with its prey, but the silken thread held and the duo just swung back and forth in huge arcs, powered by the wasp's wings. Finally, the wasp gave up and flew away. The caterpillar was dead, bent in half. It had disappeared the next time I went outside, perhaps discovered by a more powerful wasp or a bird.