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Death traps: how carnivorous plants catch their prey (ScienceAlert)

Death traps: how carnivorous plants catch their prey (ScienceAlert) | Wild thing | Scoop.it
Carnivorous plants have evolved five trapping mechanisms and in this article Michael Mathierson explains how they work.

Via Meristemi
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Ancient feathered birds may have sported four wings, study says

Ancient feathered birds may have sported four wings, study says | Wild thing | Scoop.it
Some of the earliest birds hailing from the age of the dinosaurs may have sported four flying limbs, a team of Chinese researchers says.

Via Maria Nunzia @Varvera
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100-Million-Year-Old Spider Attack Preserved in Amber

100-Million-Year-Old Spider Attack Preserved in Amber | Wild thing | Scoop.it

Looks like this 100-million-year old spider didn’t get to enjoy its final meal. Trapped in a piece of amber, the juvenile spider appears to be on the cusp of devouring a male wasp that was caught in its web. Such a grisly scene between spider and prey has never before been found in the fossil record.

 

The amazing snapshot shows an event that occurred in the Early Cretaceous period, about 97 to 110 million years ago, in the Hukawng Valley of Myanmar, “almost certainly with dinosaurs wandering nearby,” as the press release about this discovery reports. The spider is a social orb-weaver spider, formally known asGeratonephila burmanica, and its victim is a wasp of the species Cascoscelio incassus. Both species are extinct today but the fossil suggests that insect behavior from the past is not too different from the present.

 

Related wasp species are known to parasitize spider eggs, so there is some poetic justice in the spider’s attack. “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,” said entomologist George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University in the release.

 

This latest fossil doesn’t just capture the dramatic spider attack but also evidence of spider social life in the Early Cretaceous. Another spider, an adult male, is captured some distance away in the amber, co-habiting on the same web as the juvenile. Males of modern-day social orb-weavers are typically found living on female-constructed webs, where they assist in capturing insects and maintaining the web.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Leaping lizards, no it's a koala › News in Science (ABC Science)

Leaping lizards, no it's a koala › News in Science (ABC Science) | Wild thing | Scoop.it
More than 20 million years ago an Australian koala was leaping possum-like through the trees at night - a far cry from its couch-potato cousins that slump in eucalypts today.

Via Maria Nunzia @Varvera
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