Navigation Links
Aussie wasp on the hunt for redback spiders
Date:9/11/2012

University of Adelaide researchers say a small wasp that scientists had forgotten about for more than 200 years is now making a name for itself as a predator of Australia's most common dangerous spider, the redback.

The wasp (Agenioideus nigricornis) was first described scientifically in 1775 by Danish entomologist Johan Christian Fabricius, thanks to samples collected in Australia during Captain Cook's first great voyage (1768).

"Since then, scientists have largely forgotten about the wasp," says Professor Andy Austin from the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology & Biodiversity. "It is widespread across Australia and can be found in a number of collections, but until now we haven't known the importance of this particular species."

The wasp is now being dubbed the "redback spider-hunting wasp" after a family in Beaconsfield, Western Australia, discovered one of them with a paralyzed redback spider in their back yard.

Florian Irwin, then aged 9, spotted the wasp dragging the spider several meters to its nest, and his father, Dr Peter Irwin, photographed the event and kept the specimens. Peter, who is an Associate Professor at Murdoch University, contacted the Western Australian Museum about the discovery; the Museum alerted Professor Austin and research fellow Dr Lars Krogmann at the University of Adelaide.

"The Museum knew we were doing research into the Agenioideus, which belongs to the family Pompilidae, the spider-hunting wasps. Little is known about them, despite various species of Agenioideus being distributed throughout the world," Professor Austin says.

"We're very excited by this discovery, which has prompted us to study this species of wasp more closely. It's the first record of a wasp preying on redback spiders and it contributes greatly to our understanding of how these wasps behave in Australia."

With a body less than a centimeter in length, an adult redback spider-hunting wasp is no bigger than its prey. It stings and paralyses the redback spider and drags it back to its nest, where the wasp lays an egg on it. The spider remains alive but is paralyzed. Once the egg hatches, the larval wasp feeds on the spider.

The redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti) is an Australian relative of North America's black widow spider.

"The redback spider is notorious in Australia, and it has spread to some other countries, notably Japan and New Zealand. Redbacks are one of the most dangerous species in Australia and they're mostly associated with human dwellings, which has been a problem for many years," Professor Austin says.

"The redback spider-hunting wasp is doing its part to keep the population of redback spiders down, but it doesn't hunt all the time and is unlikely to completely eradicate the spiders."


'/>"/>
Contact: Professor Andy Austin, University of Adelaide
andy.austin@adelaide.edu.au
61-883-138-240
University of Adelaide
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Flying jewels spell death for baby spiders
2. Crabs, insects and spiders vulnerable to oil spill, but also resilient
3. Velvet spiders emerge from underground in new cybertaxonomic monograph
4. Vampire jumping spiders identify victims by their antennae
5. Are brown widows displacing black widow spiders around southern California homes?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Aussie wasp on the hunt for redback spiders
(Date:12/16/2016)... , Dec 16, 2016 Research and ... System Market - Global Forecast to 2021" report to their ... The ... to grow at a CAGR of 14.06% from 2016 to 2021. ... and is projected to reach 854.8 Million by 2021. The growth ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Germany , December 15, 2016 ... provider, today announced an agreement with NuData Security, an ... forces. The partnership will enable clients to focus on good ... local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide a one-stop fraud ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... Dec 15, 2016 ... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... The report forecasts the global military biometrics market to ... The report has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ... its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... services spanning the full spectrum of drug and device development, and Prism ... pharma/device companies and clinicians, today announced Verified Clinical Trials (VCT) has ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017  Northwest Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCQB: ... personalized immune therapies for operable and inoperable solid tumor ... Chief Technical Officer of NW Bio, will present at ... 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in ... chair the session entitled "New Therapeutic Approaches – Expanding ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: ... will host a live webcast of its Annual Meeting of Shareholders ... The webcast can be accessed from the BD corporate website ... January 31, 2017. ... About BD BD is a global medical technology company ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... January 18, 2017 According to a new market research ... Cytology, Infectious Disease), & End User (Molecular Diagnostic Laboratories, Academic and Research Institutions) ... reach USD 739.9 Million by 2021 from USD 557.1 Million in 2016, growing ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology Technology: