I swear not everything I write about has to do with insects. Just this one. And, um, this other one. And possibly this.
The Setup: While exploring the many square feet of my backyard, I nearly run into a spiderweb at eye level. This is a common occurrence. I can be seen, on the regular, walking with my arms flailing about in front of me as I make my way around the property. Dog paddling in the air. It’s dignified.
Just as I spot this particular web and stopped, a dragonfly fails to see it and became entangled. Its wings flap furiously but it is unable to break free. It looked a little bit like this:
Dramatic, but I chose to take no sides in this battle of arachnid vs flying insect. After a short consultation with my significant other, I learned that was the wrong choice. So back outside I went to save the less creepy insect from his new role as supper. Hooray!
Upon my return to the scene of the crime the dragonfly was still as frustrated as ever. Don’t worry buddy, the highly advanced human is here to help. Snip. One of the 3 anchors of the web cut. Snip, there goes another. Now it’s just the dragonfly dangling from the top of the garage, just out of reach. I’ll need a longer stick to knock it down. Of course, just as I’m searching the ground, looking for the perfect stick to finish my journey and become Sean, insect savior, something else happens: WE HAVE A NEW CHALLENGER.
The owner of the once effective spider web before me is descending down the remaining thread. Rapidly.
I move faster, looking for a stick to cut off that last strand. The dragonfly notices the spider too and tries again to break free. I finally find a small branch on the ground, lift it up and throw it at the tiny target. And miss.
The spider, about the size of a silver dollar, compact hairy and dark, reaches the dragonfly. It does what everyone does when a spider lands on you: it flips its shit. Wings beating at an incredible speed, the dragonfly makes a last ditch effort to avoid being eaten. The web rocks back and forth. SLAM. The vibrations jostle the spider loose, knocking it to the ground. It lays motionless where it fell. The dragonfly does a small “take that” flap of its wings and relaxes.
Ok, wow. This bug has earned it now. I grab the scrubber from the bbq brush and cut the dragon free. It celebrates its freedom by dropping to the ground like a rock. A foot away from the unmoving body of the spider.
So it seems that having wings covered in spiderwebs doesn’t make for an easy getaway. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to clean a bug’s wings without accidentally snapping them off (and I doubt the dragonfly would voluntarily let me give it a bath). So I go inside for a consult.
Long story even longer, guests arrived, hugs, conversation, yadda yadda. 15 minutes later I go back, fully intent to spritz the dragonfly with a gentle setting from the hose. Because every problem can be solved with high-pressure water. When I go back outside, I don’t hear any wings flapping. In fact, I don’t see the dragonfly anywhere. Curious. I keep looking. I also don’t see the spider (who I had presumed deceased) either. Oh.
So I guess what I’m saying is: Don’t get involved in the affairs of insects. It’s trouble. Hell, maybe the spider learned the errors of its predatory ways, made up with the dragonfly, and they eloped to an island to live in sin (the dragonfly barely above the waves, the spider on his back, his hair blowing in the wind). Or they both went to their corners, called it a day and moved on.
Or a bird came along and ate them both.