Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Fossil reveals spider mid-strike

A hundred million years ago, an amber flow spoiled a spider’s day: it had waited, possibly for hours, to ambush a wasp in its web, and just as it decided to strike, spider, wasp and web were all trapped forever.
The good news for us is that it’s turned up at a dig in Myanmar's Hukawng Valley.

The early Cretaceous fossil preserves – with stunning clarity – the juvenile spider about to make a meal of a parasitic wasp that was trapped in its web. The spider is an orb weaver and relatives still exist today, although the kind in the amber is extinct. The wasp is a relative of species which today are parasites on both spiders and their eggs. There are also fifteen unbroken strands of the spider’s web also preserved in the fossil.

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