From NPR, always digging into the difficult issues:
The coronavirus lockdown has raised a conundrum for scientists around the globe: What to do with creatures they study now that research projects have come to a halt.
So when the university gave the go ahead to bring home animals that were not at risk of escaping into the wild and harming the environment, [Todd] Waters brought the [arthropod] zoo [at the University of Maryland] home with him.
The assortment included wolf spiders, assassin bugs, mantises, baby scorpions and baby tarantulas. Waters lives with four other people, which he says made things a bit uncomfortable when he showed up with the critters.
You can listen to the story below, or check it out on NPR.
Bring Home The Tarantulas? As Research Halts, Scientists Face Difficult Decisions [Apoorva Mittal / NPR]
Image: Hugo A. Quintero G. / Flickr (CC 2.0)
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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).
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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.
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
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