Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ants' Corpses help New Spider species Protect Nest

A new species of Spider Wasp has been discovered in Jiangxi Province, South-east China. The discovery was made possible after using a unique method of defending its nest. Deuteragenia ossarium was named the Bone-House wasp, which uses the corpses of ants to ensure their protection from potential predators. The name is for the ossuaries that were used to store bones of the dead.
The details of the new species of Spider Wasp have been published in the journal Plos One. Michael Staab, one of the authors of the paper, left plastic tubes to build their nests in after he collected and opened the nests. He was surprised by the presence of dead ants filling the entrance to the nest. He found the same result in several different trap nests.

Staab noticed after the larvae hatched that all the wasps came from the same species. The species was defined as a new one by taxonomists.

It seems that the ant corpses' pheromones make the nest entrance appear to be the entrance to an ant colony, thereby keeping the wasp larvae safe. Scientists have come across the first instance of this kind of behavior in the animal kingdom.

Seventy three of the 829 nests that were collected by the researchers were containing dead ants within their vestibular cell. "These nests contained between one and six brood cells, each provisioned with a single Agelenidae spider", said scientists.

Source: Here

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