Catch Of The Day

I saw a bug flailing about on the windowsill behind my monitor at the office. Squinting, I could see a smaller bug moving above its head. I put on my glasses and the scene became clear: a beetle got caught in a spider’s web and the predator, the spider, is smaller than the head of his prey. They’re still going at it as I write this.

The beetle had four rear legs reaching the sill a moment ago but he is now caught upside-down and struggling to grip the surface with just his front legs and antennae. The spider is running up and down the web. He alternates between shoring up the mangled web and adding to the entangling threads around his giant catch.

The beetle has broken several strands of spidersilk but the daring spider continues to augment the beetle’s bonds. David and Goliath would be a weak analogy; this is more akin to small child tying up Andre the Giant with sticky dental floss and winning. The beetle’s motions are becoming lethargic while the spider continues to zip around him.

The spider has probably spun more web on this beetle than he’s ever spent on a single catch; there is a tangled mass of web just above where the beetle dangles. Oh no! The beetle has freed all but one leg! He’s dragging his feet against the dusty sill, trying for a grip that will let him pull free but he’s slipping around and the spider is under him again. The beetle has four legs stuck and the spider is trying to wrap him up!

I can’t see the spider’s mouth apparatus but it looks like he just bit the beetle on a hind leg. The beetle seems to be grabbing at the spider now! He has him between his forelegs! But the spider is nimble and he has now tied one of the beetle’s antennae to a leg!

The beetle’s movements are very slow and deliberate now. This could be the effect of the spider’s bites but I can’t be sure. It might just be exhaustion. The spider is hanging just out of the beetle’s reach, assessing the situation. He could be spitting in the beetle’s face but again, these bugs are just too small for me to see their expressions, if they have any.

It looks like a done fight, folks. The beetle is incapacitated and the spider has begun the methodical mummification process. The spider is the proud owner of a husk filled with food amounting to many times his own weight. It’s been a good day for the underdog.

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