Bonsho Jorōgumo

Nephila Clavata (the spider, whose body was nearly 6 inches long) has the upper-hand. The Praying Mantis will soon be eaten. That's what happens when things fall into spiders' webs. They get stuck, the spider approaches, pounces, and injects digestive enzymes to liquefy the prey so it can be eaten without a struggle.

Curious of the lesson it would provide, I decided to watch the inevitable outcome. For nearly 20 minutes the mantis struggled in the web while the spider patiently waited. Finally sensing that the mantis was tiring, the spider crept forward.

Soon the two were within an inch of one another. As the spider lurched forward to make its kill, the mantis suddenly reared-up, brandished its spiked forelegs, and viciously attacked the enormous spider. Faced with the onslaught, the spider quickly fell back.

As mantis continued to struggle in the web, the spider began doing something strange. Using its front arms it snapped the web, making it bounce strongly back and fourth. After doing this 15-20 times, the spider was able to bounce the mantis from its web and onto the ground below.

So who was wiser? The mantis for batting against sure death or the spider opting for a smaller, but safer meal.

Kamakura, Japan

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