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Planet Earth

How Tricky "Assassin Bugs" Lure Spiders to Their Doom

80beatsBy Andrew MosemanOctober 27, 2010 8:05 PM

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From Ed Yong:

For most insects, walking onto a spider’s web and disturbing the sticky threads would be a very bad idea. The distinctive vibrations of wriggling prey only serve to draw the spider closer and inevitably ends in the insect getting bitten, wrapped in silk and digested. But this story doesn’t always unfold in the spider’s favour. Some vibrations aren’t made by helpless prey, but by an assassin lurking on the web.

The assassin bug (Stenolemus bituberus) is a spider-hunter. Sometimes, it simply sneaks up to spiders on their own webs before striking, plunging its dagger-like mouthparts into its prey. But it also has a subtler technique. Sitting on the web, it plucks the silken threads with its legs, mimicking the frequency of weakly struggling prey. These deceptive vibes are an irresistible draw to the spider, who rush towards their own demise.

For more devious details, read the rest of this post

at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Related Content: Not Exactly Rocket Science: Assassin bugs deceive spiders with coat of many corpses

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Video: Anne Wignall / Macquarie University

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