08.10.2015 Honest honey, it’s not what it looks like

Although I am sure this shot isn’t going to make anyone jealous, it isn’t what it seems…really, it isn’t.  🙂


This is a pair of jagged ambush bugs.Phymata sp. It is fairly common to find a male riding a female’s back but it isn’t for mating purposes. As you can see, the female is much larger than the male.  I have read that the male hops on the female to take advantage of her size.  She’s more powerful and can easily capture larger prey which the male then tries to move in on for the feast.

Once the prey has been captured, in this case a poor honey bee, the bug inserts its proboscis which injects a dissolving agent.  Once dissolved, the juicy mixture is then drawn from the body like a milkshake through a straw.

Ambush-Bug-feeding-600WebFor some reason, the antennae remind me of goat’s ears.



About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to 08.10.2015 Honest honey, it’s not what it looks like

  1. Ah yes, the good old Slurpee, bug-style.

    My immediate impression upon seeing the first picture was that I was looking at horned toads or similar reptiles.


  2. BeeHappee says:

    I think we saw them, but now I can see the detail!! Very neat!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres says:

    In “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” Annie Dillard writes about seeing a giant water bug dissolving and sucking dry a frog in exactly the same way. Here’s her description of the process.

    The male’s opportunism reminds me of the relationship that exists between pelicans and seagulls. I’ve seen seagulls drive a pelican nearly to distraction, hanging around and trying to snatch away its catch. Occasionally, one will pull a fish right out of the pelican’s beak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That behavior is not unique to gulls. Eagles and hawks have been seen doing the same thing. I am not sure if owls do it too, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I would guess you see a lot of gull behavior in your line of business, Linda.


    • I’ve never seen that water bug or a desiccating frog before…aside from road killed. But I did once come across a frog sitting in a small shrub next to my campsite. I crept stealthily closer, a little at a time, until I was literally inches from its face. I was amazed that it didn’t move, although its eyes told me it was acutely aware of my position. Then I discovered that possibly it saw me as a savior…from the snake that had engulfed its rear half. Unfortunately for the frog, I let nature take its course.


  4. Lyle Krahn says:

    It’s a tough world where you either hitch a ride on someone bigger or they eat you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never seen these~how cool-looking they are. One time I heard a most distressing scream coming from beside a trail I was exploring. Silence, then there it was again. I found what you described, a snake was swallowing a frog, but the frog was screaming. Who knew? …It was hard, but I walked away and also let nature take its course. I can still hear that scream, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I must say, Steve, that I always read the comments of others and love the conversations that your blog fosters! This is fascinating – how common are jagged ambush bugs, and where are they found?? Sort of sounds like a Texas kind of name, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is very interesting! I wasn’t aware of that behavior !

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Andrew says:

    I think McDonalds may have the same ‘shake’ on their menu. Rather grim, I fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve yet to see anything as ugly as these bugs. Sorry Steve, but I seldom see a bug that I think is cute and I know that you did not shoot these two because they are cute. They have a purpose in nature, that I know. I hope my comment has not offended you. Just remember that I am one of your biggest fan, figuratively speaking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. krikitarts says:

    So, just along for the ride, eh? I have the same thought when I come across dragonfly or cicada husks left after one used a previous one as a perch for its own hatching into adult form. It’s hard not to fantasize just a little bit…

    Liked by 1 person

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