Newly-discovered spider deemed most beautiful

This photo, courtesy of the British Tarantula Society, shows the recently-discovered burrow-dwelling spider [Birupes simoroxigorum] in its full glory.

It's been described as the most beautiful spider (more via Metafilter) but not without controversy. Read the rest

Watch this massive tarantula drag an opossum it just killed

A team of scientists went to Peru's lowland tropical forest to document invertebrates and saw an uncommon sight: a large tarantula, the size of a "dinner plate" with "massive fangs" catching and eating a baby opossum. Although they didn't capture on video the part where the tarantula caught the animal, they were the first to ever record a tarantula feasting on an opossum.

“When we do surveys at night, some of the spiders we see will have prey, typically other invertebrates like crickets and moths," said one of the scientists, Rudolf von May from the University of Michigan, according to National Geographic (click on the link to see a longer version of the video).

Via NG:

But one night [the survey revealed a sight none of the researchers had seen before: A tarantula the size of a dinner plate preying upon a small opossum.

"The opossum had already been grasped by the tarantula and was still struggling weakly at that point, but after about 30 seconds it stopped kicking,” co-author Michael Grundler, a Ph.D. student says in a statement.

"We were pretty ecstatic and shocked, and we couldn't really believe what we were seeing," Grundler says.

Later, Robert Voss, a mammologist at the American Museum of Natural History, confirmed they had captured the first documentation of a large mygalomorph spider—commonly known as a tarantula—hunting and eating an opossum.

Read the rest

These sneaky spiders wait inside tiny towers to attack their prey

The California turret spider build tiny towers on the forest floor that extend underground into a burrow. At night, they climb up into the tower and await their dinner -- beetles, moths, and other insects. Video above. From KQED's Deep Look:

While remaining hidden inside their turret, they’re able to sense the vibrations created by their prey’s footsteps.

That’s when the turret spider strikes, busting out of the hollow tower like an eight legged jack-in-the-box. With lightning speed the spider swings its fangs down like daggers, injecting venom into its prey before dragging it down into the burrow.

Read the rest

Police: screams of "Why don't you die?" and a crying toddler weren't what they seemed

A passerby in Perth, Western Australia heard a man inside a home yelling "Why don't you die?" amidst a toddler's screams. The concerned neighbor called the police who responded with haste. Turned out, the man was just trying to kill a spider that was terrorizing his family.

According to police, there were no injuries "except to spider."

(BBC)

image: Toby Hudson: "A redback spider (Latrodectus hasseltii) female" Read the rest

Gentleman sets fire to his parents home trying to kill spiders

When I was growing up, any spider in my home was to be killed on sight. I never had a problem with the incredibly helpful little critters, but my mother did. Her arachnophobia was so strong that even seeing a spider web would trouble her. A spider hanging out in her vicinity would result in screams of panic and a murderous broom-aided killing spree. After leaving home, it took me years to get to the point where I didn't feel the need to kill a spider if I saw one in my home. That said, never in all of my spider-smooshing years did I even come close to burning the house down.

From KETV Omaha:

A house caught on fire after a man tried to kill spiders and get rid of webs, according to a fire department.

Fresno firefighters said the man was house sitting for his parents and used a blowtorch against black widows, KFSN-TV reported.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Robert Castillo said the man used the open flame outdoors, starting at a brick veneer section of the approximately 4,000-square-foot home. He eventually noticed smoke coming from the attic.

Fire trucks inundated a street by the home Tuesday night. About 27 firefighters responded.

It caused an estimated $10,000 in damage.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of The U.S. Army Read the rest

Why doesn't this cop see the gargantuan spider crawling towards him?

Like something out of a 1950s horror film, this giant Texan spider looks like it's about to devour the unsuspecting cop. But in reality, it's just a great optical illusion when the spider crawls right in front of a police car dashcam. Halloween is in the air. Read the rest

The world's oldest known spider has died

This female trapdoor spider, named Number 16, was the world's oldest known spider. A lifelong resident of the Australian outback, she has just died at age 43. From Curtin University:

The research, published in the Pacific Conservation Biology Journal, suggests the 43-year-old Giaus Villosus trapdoor matriarch, who recently died during a long-term population study, had outlived the previous world record holder, a 28-year old tarantula found in Mexico.

Lead author PhD student Leanda Mason from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University said the ongoing research has led to new discoveries about the longevity of the trapdoor spider.

“To our knowledge this is the oldest spider ever recorded, and her significant life has allowed us to further investigate the trapdoor spider’s behaviour and population dynamics,” Ms Mason said.

“The research project was first initiated by Barbara York Main in 1974, who monitored the long-term spider population for over 42 years in the Central Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.

“Through Barbara’s detailed research, we were able to determine that the extensive life span of the trapdoor spider is due to their life-history traits, including how they live in uncleared, native bushland, their sedentary nature and low metabolisms.”

Read the rest

The internet went wild for this 100% spiderless-pie

This isn't suspicious, no, not at all.

On Saturday, David Orr of Bloomington, Indiana posted a photo of his entry in a local pie contest on Twitter and immediately got a big reaction. Why? Because Orr used the words "No Spiders in Here" as his apple pie's crust.

The internet had a few things to say about it:

Orr then posted a photo of another entry in the contest, one with (plastic) spiders on it:

By Sunday evening, his totally spiderless pie was nearly gone.

Oh yeah, he only won SECOND place in the contest. Robbed, I tell you! Read the rest

Daddy longlegs drop their limbs to escape predators

In elementary school, I knew a boy who would impress us by pulling the legs off a daddy longlegs and popping the body in his mouth. I think he would appreciate this Deep Look video about how daddy longlegs can drop up to three of its limbs when threatened by a predator and still survive.

Read the rest

Guys at work have been feeding this huge spider for a year

Some guys at work have been feeding a huge spider that has been living inside a piece of web-covered equipment for a year.

They shot this video, which reminds me a horror movie. Read the rest

First photo of tarantula eating a snake in the wild

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) Read the rest

This guy made a video about his war with a venomous spider infestation

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

Spider vs Bees

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

Watch this spider weave her web with great care

My friend Rachel shot this great video of a cute spider making her web. Anyone know what kind it is? Read the rest

Spider preparing a fly for dinner

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.

Read the rest

Critter Catcher: grab and evict spiders without killing them or getting close to them

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

In 1932, a spider that was trapped in a clock became famous

"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:

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.

Read the rest

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