The alien menace
If you’re a hornet, that is…
I was riding home in the rain and noticed this drama unfolding on a campus sidewalk. The wheel bug (a member of the assassin bug clan) repeatedly stabbed the hornet with its proboscis, injecting digestive fluids. The hornet’s stinger was still intact (visible in one of the pictures) but its right wing is broken. At the beginning it was still struggling but by the time I left them, it had stopped moving. Small wonder it lost the fight with such a large opponent.
The scale is small to us, but pretty damn big to the hornet. I have no idea what kind of feelings bugs have; presumably they can feel pain. It reminded me of the scene in Starship Troopers where the giant bug sucked one of the soldiers’ brain out. If you see a wheel bug, do not pick it up; they can give you a nasty bite.
You can see more pictures of this encounter in my Biosphere photo album.