Walking the dog today I came across a scene that if scaled up and located in the Serengeti would have easily made it into an Attenborough documentary and wowed audiences on their sofas. But rather than a sublime female Cheetah bringing down a terrified gazelle in a whirlwind of teeth and dust, what I witnessed was at first slightly comical – a small wasp wrestling with a golden-brown hoverfly in the middle of the path, wings buzzing and legs frantically jerking as each tried to subdue the other. They skittered across the pavement like whirligig beetles on a pond and I was tempted to be amused, when I realised that obviously the wasp was the cheetah and the hoverfly (despite it’s larger size) was the gazelle. It was then that I noticed the wasp trying to get its head in-between the flies head and its thorax, as soon as it had managed that it was all over as the wasp gruesomely chewed through the neck. However it was not quite over, for the fly continued to thrash about and even the lone head continued to twitch its antennae, the wasp was forced to subdue it still further by snapping off each wing.
So despite the size difference (paralleled by the big cats of Africa) the vicious predatory wasp was able to kill a significant meal in rather a horrid way – but that’s nature and it just shows that if you look closer – I mean really look – then you can see wondrous things that rival the most beautifully shot documentaries in the most mundane of places.