Spider-eating wasp moves into Britain

May 10, 2006

A rare Mediterranean wasp has reportedly been discovered in Britain for the first time.

The insect -- episyron gallicum -- was found breeding in a quarry that's maintained as a custom-built habitat for rare insects, The London Telegraph reported Wednesday. The quarry is located next to the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Scientists say the wasp, until now, has never been reported closer to Britain than France, but the increasingly warmer climate may be promoting a change in its habitat.

The wasp seeks spiders that hunt their prey on the ground, rather than building webs. The wasp is incredibly nimble, dancing around its prey to outwit it before paralyzing the spider with a quick sting, the Telegraph said.

The immobile spider is then sealed in a tunnel with a wasp egg laid on it. When the larva hatches, it uses the spider as a source of fresh food.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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