A Christmas Horror Story
A Happy Christmas for all it ain't!
Not if you are the less obvious creature in this photograph anyway.
There are two creatures in this photo. The less obvious one, partially concealed beneath the more obvious Spider Wasp, is having a very bad day. It is a Huntsman Spider, and like a lot of people on Christmas Day, it is legless, but not from over-imbibing.
It is Christmas Day, 2012. A huntsman spider is relaxing in its dark hidey-hole, not intending to go out until dark, and perhaps contemplating what it might find for Christmas dinner that night, when suddenly a visit by a female spider wasp disturbs the Yuletide peace. Before the spider has time to mutter "Season's Greetings" or stab its fangs into its sinister visitor, the wasp is skewering it with its painful sting and injecting it with a powerful paralysing toxin.
Paralysed and no longer feeling very Christmassy, the spider now suffers the indignity of having each of its beautiful hirsute legs sliced off one by one, then is turned over on its back, and dragged backwards beneath the wasp in a position colloquially identified by a number between 68 and 70, its head bumping across many metres of rough, stony ground.
If perhaps the spider thinks that Christmas can get no worse, it's not going to get any better either. At the end of the journey, it is dragged down a small dark hole where the wasp excretes an egg onto the paralysed spider's abdomen before sealing up the entrance to the hole leaving the spider in the dark helplessly awaiting a time-bomb of sorts. The egg will hatch and the voracious new-born grub will start to eat the spider alive.
Mother Nature says "A Happy Christmas to all!"