Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spider suspended in time

Apologies to my sister for yet another post about a spider, but this one hasn't been a threat for 100 million years. It was encased by tree sap while in the act of attacking an insect - just one moment of time captured in the amber fossils of Early Cretaceous Burmese amber (see slideshow here). The spider is a social orb-weaver (Geratonephila burmanica) and its prey is a parasitic wasp (Cascoscelio incassus). According to a newly published paper, "This is the first fossil evidence of spider sociality and a fossil spider attacking prey trapped in its web." An earlier paper documents the variety of bugs preserved in Burmese amber, including worms, mites, ants, flies, ants, earwigs, beetles, a mosquito, and a tick.

Thanks, Wendy!
For more amber fossils, start here:

For more creepy crawlies, start here:

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