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What Insect Predator Turns Prey into Taxidermy?

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December 04, 2012

What Insect Predator Turns Prey into Taxidermy?

By Chad Love

Here is a mystery to test your wildlife knowledge.

I was out quail hunting Saturday and noticed something odd about a barbed-wire fence I was getting ready to cross. A 20-foot section of the fence looked like a macabre display of hunting trophies: An entire row of mostly Boone and Crockett-sized grasshoppers were impaled on the barbs of the wire—frozen in their death throes. It was like Vlad the Impaler writ small, but no less merciless.

Can you guess what animal did this? I'll give you a hint: this is one from the "Thank Goodness They're Smaller Than Us, Or We'd Be Lunch" files.

Comments (14)

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from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Loggerhead Shrike

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Tarantula hawk?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

camel spider!!

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from goin2themountains wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Shrike in the US, Butcherbird in Australia.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I'm thinking it might be a Wasp of some type?

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from hermit crab wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Since you're quail hunting, I assume it was in the South, therefore I agree with DSMBirddog - it's a loggerhead shrike. If you were farther north, it could have been a northern shrike. They'll impale not only grasshoppers on thorns and barbed wire, but even small birds, mammals, snakes and amphibians if they can get a hold of them...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Yep, loggerhead shrike. Pretty amazing little birds. I've seen rows of impaled fence lizards, cicadas, small garter snakes, pretty much anything they can catch. Easily our most bloodthirsty songbird...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from weedless97 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

loggerhead shrike! Thank you animal planet! :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gsquare wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Loggerhead Shrike,Lanius ludovicianus, aka the butcherbird in the south. They are not plentiful and are sometimes mistaken for mockingbirds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from habben97 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

loggerhead shrike

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nehunter92 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

As just about everybody above me has said, it's a shrike. This is common behavior for them, and most birders refer to this as the Shrikes "meat rack." In addition to barbed wire, they will also use large thorns (such as hawthorns) for this purpose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from slickfly wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

If it is indeed a Shrike (either Northern or Loggerhead, depending on location), shouldn't the title be: 'What Bird Predator Turns Prey into Taxidermy?'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1ojolsen wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Dragon fly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from James Forman wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

shrikey!look at the size of that hopper!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from DSMbirddog wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Loggerhead Shrike

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from weedless97 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

loggerhead shrike! Thank you animal planet! :)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Tarantula hawk?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nathan Ryver wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

camel spider!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from goin2themountains wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Shrike in the US, Butcherbird in Australia.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bruisedsausage wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

I'm thinking it might be a Wasp of some type?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hermit crab wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Since you're quail hunting, I assume it was in the South, therefore I agree with DSMBirddog - it's a loggerhead shrike. If you were farther north, it could have been a northern shrike. They'll impale not only grasshoppers on thorns and barbed wire, but even small birds, mammals, snakes and amphibians if they can get a hold of them...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Yep, loggerhead shrike. Pretty amazing little birds. I've seen rows of impaled fence lizards, cicadas, small garter snakes, pretty much anything they can catch. Easily our most bloodthirsty songbird...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gsquare wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Loggerhead Shrike,Lanius ludovicianus, aka the butcherbird in the south. They are not plentiful and are sometimes mistaken for mockingbirds.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from habben97 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

loggerhead shrike

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from nehunter92 wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

As just about everybody above me has said, it's a shrike. This is common behavior for them, and most birders refer to this as the Shrikes "meat rack." In addition to barbed wire, they will also use large thorns (such as hawthorns) for this purpose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from slickfly wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

If it is indeed a Shrike (either Northern or Loggerhead, depending on location), shouldn't the title be: 'What Bird Predator Turns Prey into Taxidermy?'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 1ojolsen wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Dragon fly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from James Forman wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

shrikey!look at the size of that hopper!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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