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Under the Spell of...Spiders
Hunter Becomes the Hunted
Introduction - Spider Specifics - In Pursuit of Prey - Hunter Becomes the Hunted - Growing Up a Spider - Glossary

Although many animals eat spiders, some spiders actually end up victims of the same fate they inflict upon their prey: caught, paralyzed, and devoured slowly. The Organpipe mud dauber wasp, for example, will paralyze a spider, bring it into the wasp nest, and deposit it into an almost-complete nest cell. The wasp will then lay an egg on the spider and seal up the cell. Black and yellow mud daubers will actually pack an empty cell full of paralyzed spiders before leaving an egg. Either way, when the wasp larvae hatch weeks later, they have a ready-made meal in the form of the paralyzed spiders.

Mud dauber wasp nest

Paralyzed spiders await their fate as the mud dauber larva matures.

Photo by Ann Moreton
National Museum of Natural History
The mud duber wasp.

The mud duber wasp: A spider's worst nightmare.

Photo by Ann Moreton
National Museum of Natural History

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