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This Week in My Viewfinder

The battle: Bald-faced hornet vs Paper wasp

While not fully visible, we can gauge the size and spread of the mandibles on the bald-faced as it looks to chop off the wasp’s head or abdomen.
As the grappling continues, the hornet has squeezed the mandibles of the wasp shut, and we have a clearer view of the size of those mandibles compared to the wasp’s.
Unable to cleanly cut off the head or abdomen, the bald-face is chomping on whatever it can get those jaws on.
It continues to attempt cutting, squeezing, or ripping anything that presents an opportunity.
A clear view of how wide a bite the bald-face can take. There appears to be a tear in the left wing of the paper wasp.
Going for the crushing head bite. The cut in the wing is now obvious. This image is darker, probably because I was shooting so fast the flash couldn’t recharge in time for this shot.
The size difference between the two combatants is clear here. The paper wasp’s stinger is out again.
Somewhere in the final flurry of activity, the paper wasp sustained some severe damage. Can you see it?
The missing legs are clear in all images. The carapace around the abdomen is damaged. Both wings are damaged. It is likely it couldn’t fly and so was doomed. In the third image, it was frantically sweeping that leg, trying to get some traction to propel itself forward. If the hornet had returned at this point, the outcome would have been certain and swift. It is hard for me to believe it would waste this much effort and abandon its prize unless it was in an equally perilous state from the wasp’s stings.



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Central NJ lensman specialist in closeup nature: flowers, small animals, insects, arachnids, bees in-flight a specialty. Intro video