Brevia

Early Cretaceous Spider Web with Its Prey

Science  23 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5781, pp. 1761
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126628

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Abstract

Araneoid spiders are renowned for their efficient capture of flying insects with intricate aerial webs. Origins of this web structure are obscure, however, because they rarely fossilize. Reported here is an exceptional situation of insects trapped in part of a gummy aerial web preserved in a runnel of amber from Spain that is ~110 million years old (Early Cretaceous). This is the oldest direct evidence of a spider web made by Araneoidea and of its use for predation. Thus, the interception of flying insects by spiders has a minimum age coinciding with the explosive diversification of the angiosperms and of major pollinating groups of insects.

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