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For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Spider w/ Parasite - Eustala

Spider w/ Parasite - Eustala
Oregon, Ogle County, Illinois, USA
March 15, 2012
Size: 5mm
Suspect cat-faced spider. Thanks for any help.
This tiny orb weaver had a dozen insect carcasses in a web barely one-foot diameter. Seems she is eating for two though - there is some sort of larvae lodged between her carapace and abdomen. I'm sure someone here knows what that is.

Images of this individual: tag all
Spider w/ Parasite - Eustala Spider w/ Parasite - Eustala Spider w/ Parasite - Eustala

Moved from Araneus.

Posture makes us think more of Eustala
See what you think

Have seen some young Mantidfly larva wedged in similar places on spider specimens, but they were much smaller. Can't see enough to tell you whether that's what this is or maybe given it's size it is a wasp larva.

This from the Atlantic magazine online:
"Consider Polysphincta gutfreundi, a parasitic wasp that grabs hold of an orb spider and attaches a tiny egg to its belly. A wormlike larva emerges from the egg, and then releases chemicals that prompt the spider to abandon weaving its familiar spiral web and instead spin its silk thread into a special pattern that will hold the cocoon in which the larva matures. The “possessed” spider even crochets a specific geometric design in the net, camouflaging the cocoon from the wasp’s predators."

I agree, thank you. I intend to visit her every day and maybe catch whatever it is do whatever its going to do.