Gruesome Tactics of an Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug
This post highlights the gruesome, yet ingenious tactics of the Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis sp.) which I shot again on Friday night. This assassin bug sticks the corpses of it's devoured prey (ants!) onto it's back for camouflage and to hide it's scent from other ants. On top of being an obvious "meat shield", this also allows the assassin bug to infiltrate ant colonies while posing as one of their own. I have yet to photograph this bug attaching a corpse to it's back, so it's going to be high on my wish list!
- Like a scene straight out from the recent Hannibal TV series (Episode 9: TROU NORMAND), this Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis sp.) accumulates a gigantic stack of corpses on it's back. It's a wonder how it managed to maintain balance!
- This Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis sp.) could walk about steadily despite the additional load.
- Another serial killer which I shot some time ago, had a slightly lower kill rate.
- Even the tiny, younger Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis sp.) had a stack of it's own!
- View from above shows that almost the entire body of the Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis sp.) had been covered by ant carcasses!
- Despite finding these quite frequently, I couldn't pass up shooting them each time.
- Comb-Footed Spider (Theridiidae), usually weaves silk cross-crossing over a leaf.
- Wider view to show the web - yes it is almost always hanging upside down.
- A male Comb-Footed Spider (Theridiidae), notice the enlarged palps, all ready to mate!
- Dorsal view of the Comb-Footed Spider (Theridiidae), always important for records.
- We found a few young Centipedes (Chilopoda) on the tree trunks
- The body had hints of green
- Issid Planthopper (Hemisphaerius sp.), ridiculously cute seed-like bug! Alex Wild jokingly called it Adorabilidae when I posted pictures of it on Facebook recently.
- Did I mention that it is that adorable?
- Ground Spider (Zodariidae), but not on the ground but resting on a tree trunk
- Interesting looking Katydid (Tettigoniidae) but it was too big to fit into my camera setup, hence the cropped legs.
- Melvyn found this caged chrysalis. The caterpillar was probably a spiky one, and had used it's spikes to build this protective cage while it is in this vulnerable and critical stage of it's life.
- View from the side, such a beautiful chrysalis!
- The outer membrane was already transparent and we could see the antennae of the moth. (or butterfly?)
- There were a number of these Orb Web Spiders (Araneidae) which rested on dead leaves dangling on their webs.
- Found a Lichen Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) running about on a leaf.
- This Lichen Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) is a juvenile, measuring only 20mm with legs out-stretched
- One of the benefits of shooting at night, are the congregating Tiger Beetles (Cicindelinae)
- I would usually give these Tiger Beetles (Cicindelinae) a miss, but this pair was sleeping side by side and it looked like a good photo-op!
- Like brothers! (or sisters?)
- A Daddy-Long-Legs Spider (Pholcidae) carrying her egg sac
- A beautiful but tiny Comb-Footed Spider (Theridiidae). It has distinctly protruding red eyes!
Shooting this assassin bug took just about 10 minutes, so here are more finds from the night!!
I will be posting part II of this night's trip shortly, with another subject that I have been hunting for the past year!!