OtherPix: 11: Prey

A similar family tragedy is shown in this photograph, which we made in Italy in June 2007; the male of a pair of Blue Featherlegs (Platycnemis pennipes) has been caught in a spider's web while he's still holding on to his female. Our diary entry for the day contains the following note: ' ... The tandem in question was remarkable in that the male had just been caught by a spider and was now being attacked and actually devoured. But while the poor male made a rich meal, the female was just hanging there, helplessly suspended in mid-air and unable to free herself from the male's claspers. His nervous system must have just locked up and his muscles unable to release his clasp on her. Clearly she was next on the menu. So we did what our friend and mentor C says we should never do: we interfered. With apologies to the spider and her offspring, I pinched the male's abdomen a bit and indeed that did the trick; his claspers opened up and the female managed to free herself and fly off. Maybe her offspring will help feed the spider's ... '.

Platycnemis pennipes male caught in web

Previous | Next