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A Fossilized Scene of a Spider Attacking a Wasp, Preserved for 110 Million Years
IO9 ^ | October 9, 2012 | George Dvorsky

Posted on 10/09/2012 2:04:50 PM PDT by DogByte6RER

A Fossilized Scene of a Spider Attacking a Wasp, Preserved for 110 Million Years

A Fossilized Scene of a Spider Attacking a Wasp, Preserved for 110 Million Years

Paleontologists have discovered beautifully preserved species trapped in amber before — but this one is extraordinary. It features a parasitic wasp that has become ensnared in a spider's web, with the owner bearing down on it for an attack. But just before the spider was about to have its meal, a drop of resin flowed down from above, freezing the moment in time. Researchers date the scene to the Early Cretaceous between 97 to 110 million years ago in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar — a time when dinosaurs would have most certainly been in the neighborhood. And in addition to the dramatic scene, the fossil also contains the body of a male spider in the same web — the first evidence of spider social behavior in the paleontological record.

Spider sociality still exists in some species, but it is very rare. Today, most spiders live solitary lives, often resorting to cannibalism — including males who often attack immature species in the same web.

But as for catching unsuspecting prey in a web, that appears to be an evolutionary strategy that has survived the test of time. And in fact, spiders are an ancient invertebrate that first emerged about 200 million years ago. The oldest fossilized record of a spider dates back to 130 million years ago. This recent discovery is considered the first and only fossilized example of a spider attack on prey caught in its web.

The specimen trapped in the resin is an orb-weaver spider, a social species that has now been described by the researchers in their new paper which appears in Historical Biology. As for the wasp, it's closely related to a species that still exists today — one that is known to parasitize spider and insect eggs.

It would seem that the wasp had it coming.


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; History; Miscellaneous; Pets/Animals; Reference; Science
KEYWORDS: amber; bc; bugs; cretaceousperiod; fossil; godsgravesglyphs; paleontology; spider; wasp
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Prehistoric insects trapped in amber for millions and millions of years ... I think I see where this is all going.

1 posted on 10/09/2012 2:04:59 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
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To: DogByte6RER

What’s the resin for this post?


2 posted on 10/09/2012 2:07:09 PM PDT by Williams (No Obama)
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To: DogByte6RER

Pyrrhic victory imortalized in amber.


3 posted on 10/09/2012 2:09:56 PM PDT by DManA
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To: All

Some related background/reference material ...

Predatory behaviour of the social orb-weaver spider, Geratonephila burmanica n. gen., n. sp. (Araneae: Nephilidae) with its wasp prey, Cascoscelio incassus n. gen., n. sp. (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae) in Early Cretaceous Burmese amber

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08912963.2011.640399


4 posted on 10/09/2012 2:10:37 PM PDT by DogByte6RER ("Loose lips sink ships")
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To: Williams

The resin is clear.


5 posted on 10/09/2012 2:10:53 PM PDT by Pharmboy (Democrats lie because they must.)
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To: Williams
What’s the resin for this post?

Moreover, why was there no amber alert?

HF

6 posted on 10/09/2012 2:12:14 PM PDT by holden
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To: DogByte6RER

for later


7 posted on 10/09/2012 2:13:36 PM PDT by Doctor 2Brains (If the government were Paris Hilton, it could not score a free drink in a bar full of lonely sailors)
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To: holden

My, my my,
said the spider to the fly...


8 posted on 10/09/2012 2:13:38 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (In the game of life, there are no betting limits)
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To: DogByte6RER
"But as for catching unsuspecting prey in a web, that appears to be an evolutionary strategy that has survived the test of time."

Spiders catching their food in their web is "evolutionary"! Who knew?

9 posted on 10/09/2012 2:13:52 PM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: DogByte6RER

Poor spiders and wasps....

Doest this mean that after 110 Million years, they haven’t evolved into anything else.

(No! Not the fossilized ones, but the decendents of their siblings!)

Guess they’ve been perfect for a long time?


10 posted on 10/09/2012 2:15:27 PM PDT by G Larry (Which of Obama's policies do you think I'd support if he were white?)
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To: DogByte6RER

11 posted on 10/09/2012 2:17:17 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Mater tua caligas exercitus gerit ;-{)
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To: DogByte6RER
Researchers date the scene to the Early Cretaceous between 97 to 110 million years ago in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar

But ... But ... Darwin's theory on evolution is hogwash!

Just kidding. Darwin's theory is now proven to a degree that few question it.

12 posted on 10/09/2012 2:19:48 PM PDT by OldNavyVet
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Are you fleeing from the fact that the victim of this age-long assault was a WASP and condemned by no for one for over a hundred million years--so what's new? I speak on behalf of hundreds of millions of WASPs, that rarely--if ever--see political correctness going in their favor!

...had it coming, indeed!

HF

13 posted on 10/09/2012 2:22:20 PM PDT by holden
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: holden

ouch


15 posted on 10/09/2012 2:24:26 PM PDT by EggsAckley ("There's an Ethiopian in the fuel supply!")
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To: Williams

Are you kidding? This story has legs.


16 posted on 10/09/2012 2:25:03 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: DogByte6RER
But just before the spider was about to have its meal, a drop of resin flowed down from above, freezing the moment in time.

That must have been a really big drop of resin.

17 posted on 10/09/2012 2:26:45 PM PDT by TigersEye (dishonorabledisclosure.com - OPSEC (give them support))
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To: OldNavyVet
Researchers date the scene to the Early Cretaceous between 97 to 110 million years ago in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar

But ... But ... Darwin's theory on evolution is hogwash!

Just kidding. Darwin's theory is now proven to a degree that few question it.

Erm - this article has squat to do with evolution. Maybe learn to recognize what evolution is and isn't before pontificating about degrees of provenness.

18 posted on 10/09/2012 2:28:27 PM PDT by JustSayNoToNannies (A free society's default policy: it's none of government's business.)
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To: DogByte6RER

Talk about a slow web connection.


19 posted on 10/09/2012 2:32:09 PM PDT by Our man in washington
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To: holden

Female parasitoid Wasps sting and incapacitate spiders and lay eggs on them. The wasp larva then eat the spiders alive. In this case, the turnabout was fair play.


20 posted on 10/09/2012 2:40:59 PM PDT by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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