WARNING: The follow post contains graphic images of a spider killing and preparing a bee for consumption. Yes, these images are disturbing. Yes, these images reflect nature in all it’s glory. You don’t have to look. No one is pressuring you. If a predator eating it’s prey is not something you want to see, I have plenty of nice pretty pictures for you to see instead.
There, I warned you.
Here are photos from the time I watched a spider kill a bee and prepare to eat it. And I feel bad for the bee. I find bees to be cute and fuzzy, and though dangerous if disturbed, I know they are important to the ecosystem, and are dying in large numbers.
I was out taking pictures in the desert outside of the McDowell Mountains when I spotted a bee sitting on a cholla. The sight made me feel both scared and excited. Scared that the bee might sting me, and excited to possibly capture a closeup photo of a bee. I got as close as I dared, marveling at how the bee could sit atop hills spines without being impaled, and as I snapped off pictures I noticed the bee was not moving, and a spider lurked nearby.
The reality of the situation dawned on me. The spider had either recently bitten the bee and was waiting for its venom to finish the job, or the bee had somehow impaled itself on the cholla. In either case, the bee was dying, there was not hope for rescue, and after passing the bee would become a meal for that spider.
I watched and captured as much as the light allowed before the sun set and my light was gone. I saw the spider watch the bee from a distance until it slowly stopped moving completely. Then the spider approached, delivered additional venom to the bees neck, and attached a line of web to the bees thorax. The spider stood atop the cholla, dangling the bee in the air from its webbing, and slowly began reeling the bee back to itself, wrapping it in its web.
Contained here are the best images from that series. I’ve been uncertain whether to share them here, but disturbing as they are, I believe they have educational value.
Be careful around cholla, and bees. And spiders. They are all extremely dangerous.
At the time of shooting I was anticipating encountering cholla so I was wearing boots and thick pants, and carrying my comb. My dog Penny was not with me.
What type of spider is that?
Could it have jumped off the cholla, latched onto my face and bread spider babies inside my brain?
I’m trying to identify what species of spider this is using an online spider identification tool. Seeing all these pictures of spiders at once is making my skin crawl, and I keep brushing my fore arms and neck, certain there is one on me right now. Using this tool the closest matches I’ve found are Castianeira crocata and Phidippus johnsoni (AKA Johnson Jumper). Neither are a perfect match for the spider in my photos, but I’m leaning more toward the Johnson Jumper. If that’s the case, then the spider brain babies seem totally plausible to me. If any of you can weigh in, I’d be happy to hear your feedback in the comments below.