“Paleontologists have discovered an extraordinarily rare fossil of a spider attacking a wasp caught in its web.
This piece of amber preserved the event in remarkable detail, an action that took place some 100 million years ago in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar.
The fossil also contains the body of a male spider in the same web. This provides the oldest evidence of social behavior in spiders, which still exists in some species but is fairly rare. Most spiders have solitary, often cannibalistic lives, and males will not hesitate to attack immature species in the same web.
“This juvenile spider was going to make a meal out of a tiny parasitic wasp, but never quite got to it,” said Prof George Poinar Jr. of the Oregon State University and world expert on insects trapped in amber, who co-authored a paper in the Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleobiology.
“Spiders are ancient invertebrates that researchers believe date back some 200 million years, but the oldest fossil evidence ever found of a spider web is only about 130 million years old. An actual attack such as this between a spider and its prey caught in the web has never before been documented as a fossil,” the researcher said.”