Researchers in a southern Brazil grassland spotted a tarantula munching on a foot-long snake. It's the first time a tarantula having this particularly hearty meal has been documented in the wild. The non-venomous snake is a Erythrolamprus almadensis and the tarantula is a Grammostola quirogai that boasts .8-inch long fangs. Federal University of Santa Maria graduate student Leandro Malta Borges found the dining tarantula under a rock. From National Geographic:
As Borges looked on, the tarantula huddled over the decomposing snake, chowing down on the exposed, liquefied guts.
In their description of the scene, published in Herpetology Notes in December 2016, the researchers chalk up the snake’s demise to an accidental break-in. In Serra do Caverá, many tarantula species, in particular sedentary females, hide in the rocks.
“Most likely, the snake was surprised upon entering the spider’s environment and hence [was] subdued by it,” the researchers write.
(photo by Gabriela Franzoi Dri)
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Here's a fellow whose been plagued with redback spider infestations in his backyard garden. In this video he shows his arsenal of weapons (such as deodorant can flamethrowers) and how he uses them to get rid of the venomous spiders. Read the rest
Fastbees.net posted video of a large fishing spider hunting bees. As long as it doesn't move too quickly, it can grab the relatively small insects and sneak off with them. But when it gets skittish: game over. [via] Read the rest
My friend Rachel shot this great video of a cute spider making her web. Anyone know what kind it is? Read the rest
We found this little fellow in the garage preparing dinner. Despite a sultry summer, we've been free of flies and I figure it's all thanks to Team Cellar Spider.
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The Critter Catcher is a long rubbery picker-upper gadget, enabling the user to easily pick up and evict spiders without harming them or having to get too close. You can buy one for $17 (a generic clone is $20 on Amazon). I'm buying one to serve hors d'oeuvres at an unpleasant party I intend to host. Read the rest
"Spider in a Bitter 18-day Fight Against Time." This headline reads like Upworthy clickbait, but it's from a 1932 newspaper article about a tiny arachnid in Ohio that became famous for repeatedly attempting to weave a web between the minute hand and the hour hand inside a clock. The web tore every time the hands separated, but the spider would try again. After a little girl named Louise Thompson noticed the Sisyphean spider and told her family about it, word spread around the neighborhood and eventually reached the media.
From Nag on the Lake:
By this time the insect had grown to the size of an ordinary house spider, and the hands of the clock were covered with fine threads. The clock and its eight-legged prisoner were taken to the University of Akron where a biologist attempted to unravel the mystery of how the spider was surviving without a food source.
But there were protests over the fact that the spider was being kept in the clock, instead of being released into the wild, where it could experience its true spider nature. From About:
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Not everyone was taken with the spider in the clock. Some were appalled by the entire spectacle. In particular, the members of the Akron Humane Society deplored what they perceived to be a case of arachnid imprisonment (albeit self-imprisonment).
On December 10, an agent of the Society, G.W. Dilley, issued an announcement to the press, declaring that he would permit Kraatz one week to study the spider, then he would demand its release.
A foolish motorist was lucky to escape unharmed after trying to kill a spider in Center Line, Michigan, with fire. At a gas pump. While pumping gas.
After spotting the terrifying creature and perhaps remembering the Internet's advice on how such things are best disposed of, he whipped out a lighter and promptly set ablaze everything in front of him. He put out the fire himself with a nearby extinguisher, but not before the pump was destroyed.
Fox News Detroit reports that he later came back to say he was sorry.
This charred fuel pump says it all. We are told his car was barely damaged from the flames. But his embarrassing mistake didn't stop the man from coming back the next day as a customer.
"He was sorry," Susan said. "He was sorry, he said he didn't know. It is just one of those things that happen - stupidity."
Adams said this serves as a reminder about being careful around gas pumps. Whether it is using a cell phone or static electricity, the smallest spark can cause a gas station fire.
It is not noted in reports whether the spider escaped immolation.
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A baboon tarantula loose on a Delta plane caused a three hour flight delay in Baltimore on Wednesday that ended when the airline brought in another aircraft to fly passengers to Atlanta.
According to Delta, the spider had escaped from a cargo container. The spider was eventually found and had never made it into the passenger cabin.
"Safety and security are our top priority," the Delta spokesperson told The Baltimore Sun.
According to Wikipedia, "most baboon spiders are not considered dangerous to humans." Read the rest
A strange phenomenon is happening in Dallas, TX. Drivers commuting through the neighborhood of Lakeside Park have spotted a massive canopy of webs that runs the length of a football field. The canopy is draped over trees and bushes and reaches 40-feet high. Any driver curious enough to step out of their car will see thousands of spiders working together to create this web. Of course this is highly unusual, since spiders are known to normally work alone.
Scientists suggest the webs are strung in cooperation in order to take advantage of rare influxes of insects, a hatch of midges or other water-borne insects from the nearby lake.
Although unusual, it's not the first time spiders have spun a communal web in Texas.
A similar web was found inside Lake Tawakoni State Park in 2007. The appearance of that web surprised many arachnologists, who had never seen or studied such a phenomenon.
The spiders are pretty harmless to humans and should be simply admired for their amazing handiwork. Read the rest
Entomologist/photographer Alex Wild explains in Scientific American how he created this absolutely stunning image of a Sydney funnel-web spider at an Australian venom chemistry laboratory: Read the rest
Cooked tarantulas are seen at the 110th Explorers Club Annual Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, March 15, 2014. The club, which promotes scientific exploration, featured catering by chef and "exotic creator" Gene Rurka. Chef Rurka prepared a variety of dishes featuring insects, wildlife and invasive plant species. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly Read the rest
You do, however, have MRSA
. An adorable cartoon at the new blog BuzzHootRoar draws attention to something I'd never heard of before — a lot of the time, when your doctor thinks you've been bitten by a poisonous spider, you've actually been infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria. No spider involved. And the cartoon comes with citations, which is lovely. Read the rest
Smithsonian looked at the recent startling video of a "spider rain" west of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Horrible, horrible things. Blogger Bug Girl explains the finer points of male spider anatomy
and, also, probably way more than you wanted to know about Peter Parker's personal life. Read the rest