Insect Behavior at Xandari

Over the last month or so, I’ve been recording videos of animal behavior at Xandari, and I finally have enough to share a small compilation of insects doing their thing on property. Sometime during the next week, I’ll also upload a video of new bird behavior observed here.

In the video above, you’ll see a small colony of leaf-cutter ants streaming in and out of their underground home, where a special type of fungus that they cultivate feeds on the cellulose in vegetable material the ants carry in and extrudes the sugars and other nutrients that the ants need to survive.

Next, a pair of Banded Peacock butterflies engage in some sort of pre-mating dance, where one individual–presumably the male–flutters above the waiting female, although nothing ever happens at the end of this display in the video since the duo flies away; I actually cut the beginning of the clip short because the failure of the butterflies’ lengthy activity to culminate in anything was a bit frustrating.

Finally, and most interestingly, a female spider wasp drags a wolf spider that she has paralyzed with her sting on the long trek back to her nest, a little burrow where the spider will provide living food for the wasp’s larva when the egg laid inside the spider hatches. There are actually many species of parasitic wasps that practice this spider-hunting behavior, most famous of which is likely the Tarantula Hawk.

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