100 million-year-old spider attack

The only fossil ever discovered of 100 million-year-old spider attack on prey caught in its web, been found by researchers.   Image credit: Oregon Sate University

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The very rare fossils are in a piece of amber that preserved this event in remarkable detail. The amber fossil was observed in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar in the Early Cretaceous between 97-110 million years ago. The age of dinosaurs.

“This juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus of zoology at Oregon State University and world expert on insects trapped in amber. He outlined the findings in a new publication in the journal Historical Biology.

“This was a male wasp that suddenly found itself trapped in a spider web,” Poinar said. “This was the wasp’s worst nightmare, and it never ended. The wasp was watching the spider just as it was about to be attacked, when tree resin flowed over and captured both of them.”

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