An entomologist has come across a remarkable specimen of amber, in which a fossilized spider is shown attacking a wasp. The piece of amber is over 100 million years old.
The entomologist George Poinar came across a fascinating item of amber. In it a spider is seen moving towards a wasp, ready to attack. Before the attack took place, both creatures were zapped by a flow of tree resin and were preserved in amber for the next 100 million years.
That's a long time ago. According to Wired Science, 100 million years dates back to the Early Cretaceous period, the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.
Poinar said, of the find, in a press release:
“This was a male wasp that suddenly found itself trapped in a spider web. 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.”
Oregon State University
The only fossil ever discovered that shows a spider attacking prey in its web
The photograph forms part of a paper written by Poinar and published in the journal Historical Biology, titled 'Predatory behaviour of the social orb-weaver spider, Geratonephila burmanica n. gen., n. sp. (Araneae: Nephilidae) with its wasp prey, Cascoscelio incassus'
George Poinar, of Oregon State University, has previously studied ways to extract dinosaur DNA from amber-locked mosquitoes. This research inspired the book and movie, Jurassic Park.