A female redback spider climbs on a web-covered stick at Taronga Zoo in Sydney (Photo : Reuters)
An Australian wasp known as Agenioideus nigricomis has reentered the limelight of scientific study for the first time since 1775 by besting one of the deadliest spiders on the continent.
According to a report by UPI.com, scientists watched as the wasp "dragg[ed] a [redback] spider it had paralyzed with a sting several yards to its nest."
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The redback is no stranger to neurotoxins itself, as its bites contain a venom that causes severe pain in humans for over twenty-four hours. Since the 1956 introduction of an antivenom, there have been no deaths from redback bites. The spider belongs to the same group as the Black Widow Spider.
Andy Austin, biologist at the University of Adelaide, noted that "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."
"The redback spider is notorious in Australia, and it has spread to some other countries, notably Japan and New Zealand," he added.
The rediscovery of the 'redback spider-hunting wasp' has revealed a new kink to Australia's ecosystem that scientists were previously unaware of.
"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," says Austin.
Since it was first documented, "scientists have largely forgotten about the wasp."
The biologist states, "[The wasp] 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"