Invertebrate agenioideus nigricornis


Henry Arthur Readford
May 23, 2011
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Taken from 9MSN some interesting new info

Native wasp feeds on redbacks

14:39 AEST Tue Sep 11 2012

A native wasp, largely unstudied for more than 200 years, is now being hailed as a significant predator to the dangerous Australian redback spider.

The agenioideus nigricornis wasp was first described in 1775 by Danish entomologist Johan Christian Fabricius.

It can still be found across much of Australia but its role in containing redback populations only came apparent when a Western Australian family found one with a paralysed redback in their backyard.

Florian Irwin, 9, spotted the wasp dragging the spider several metres to its nest and his father photographed the event and kept the specimens.

Andy Austin, from the University of Adelaide's Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity, said the discovery prompted researchers to study the 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," Professor Austin said.

Research has now revealed the wasp stings and paralyses its prey and then drags it back to its nest, where it lays an egg on it.

The redback remains alive and once the egg hatches, the larval wasp feeds on the spider.

"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," Prof Austin said.

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