Spiders never fail to surprise


May 7, 2019

There are so many spider species out there, and it seems the more we learn about them, the more we realize just how little we know about them. Here’s a recent roundup of some news and research on a few amazing arthropods (beyond our recent exploration of the Star Wars spider on — when else? — May Fourth):

Spider fossils with eyes all aglow: The eerie images found in an article by PopularScience.com and covered by other media outlets about this discovery in Korea, are courtesy of a light-reflecting tissue layer in the 110 million-year-old fossils’ eye area. The article notes that it’s not unlike how a photo of your dog turns out “with an alien glare” — or even when you come across wolf spiders at night while wearing a headlamp in a field. (Does that happen regularly to you?)

Anyone hungry for sushi?: Continuing with the odd appearances of some spiders, and the overall interesting creatures that seem to inhabit Australia in particular, a Sydney homeowner came across a spider that looked a heckuva lot like a California roll. The sushi-ish specimen instead was found to be Ordgarius magnificus, a native species commonly known as the magnificent spider. Click here to see why it is pretty darn magnificent.

Elsewhere in Australia…: We’ll just go with SBS News’ original headline here, because it says it all: “Mating habits of Australia’s golden huntsman spider captured in rare photos.” Go on, you know you want to look.

Parasitic wasps master the bait-and-switch: According to InsideScience.org, over in Eastern Asia, the parasitic wasp Zatypota maculata has a habit of luring a tangle-web spider (Nihonhimea japonica) into its trap. The wasp stings the spider to paralyze it “for five to 10 minutes, enough time to lay an egg on its abdomen before flying off. As for the spiders, the horror only just begins with the initial attack. Once the egg hatches in about four days, the larva will stay on its abdomen, sucking out its fluids. This continues for about 10 to 14 days, at which point the larva kills off the spider and continues to eat the rest of its insides. The larva then makes a cocoon and morphs into an adult wasp, ready to terrorize a new generation of tangle-web spiders.”

Obligatory car-wrecked-because-of-spider story: In Cairo, N.Y., a woman driver crashed her car because she was startled by a spider. “We know that it is easier for some drivers than others but PLEASE, try to teach new drivers and yourselves to overcome the fear and pull over to a safe place,” the local police department posted on its Facebook page in response. (Full disclosure: Had this been Kent, Ohio, and the year was 1994, your editor was just one curb away of having a very similar news report filed on her behalf.)

Do you have any favorite spider species? Research, news, relocations? Sound off below or drop us a line at pmpeditor@northcoastmedia.net.


About the Author

Heather Gooch

Heather Gooch is the editor-in-chief for PMP magazine. She can be reached at hgooch@northcoastmedia.net or 330-321-9754.

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