Welcome with open arms

It’s always good to take time to stop and smell the flowers. Unless, of course, one of these assassins has taken up residence.

The ambush bug can tackle insects ten times its size.  Luckily we are about 1,000,000 times its size but you wouldn’t want one up your nose.  The plant is a Black-eyed Susan so that gives some idea of the scale. Until I looked at my picture at this scale, I hadn’t paid attention to all those disk florets – you can see the ring of pollen part way up the cone on a picture further down this entry but these are the lower on the cone.

Notice the “arms” for grabbing prey, quite like a praying mantis.  But this is a true bug.  It sticks its beak (called a rostrum) in the prey, injects poison and saliva and then sucks up the juices.  A great way to tenderize your meat.

 

Ambush bug
Ambush bug
Ambush bug - side view
Ambush bug – side view

It looks a bit like an insect Triceratops with that shield.

Ambush bug - front view
Ambush bug – front view

Next is a flower spider, that makes its living in the same way.  It cocks its legs back and when an insect comes within range, it grabs it.  I watched this over a couple of days.  I saw it get one fly but it doubled its size in less than a week.

Flower spider
Flower spider
Flower spider top view
Flower spider top view

Here’s a smaller one, having dinner.

Flower spider with fly
Flower spider with fly

Author: Eric Lawton

Eric is a natural philosopher living in rural Ontario

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