Tagged: spiders

Spiders casting webs as lifeboats in Australia’s floodwaters


Thousands of spiders have cast eerie webs over vast areas of flood-hit Australia after being forced to seek shelter by the rising waters.

Experts said the spiders may be spinning the sticky webs to help them survive the deluge, which has forced thousands of people to leave their homes over the past week.

“What we’ve seen here is a type of wolf spider,” Owen Seeman, arachnid expert at Queensland Museum, told Reuters. “They are trying to hide away from the waters.”

The spider webs were seen near the inland city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, where 8,000 people were forced from their homes before the flood waters receded on Wednesday.

The Australian Museum’s entomology collections manager Graham Milledge said the spiders’ behavior was known as ballooning, and was typical after spiders are forced to flee from floods.

Better the spiders instead of the snakes. :)

Spiders pour from cargo hold – ship ordered to leave Guam

A South Korean cargo ship had to be turned away…after an infestation of spiders was discovered in the cargo hold.

Customs officials discovered the infestation in the MV Altavia’s cargo after the South Korean ship docked in Guam, one of the Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean.

Thousands of spiders, some with bodies as big as 10 pence pieces, started pouring out of the ship’s crates as Guam’s Port Authority workers began moving the containers off the boat onto the dock, last Wednesday.

The shipment had been destined for a US military base construction site on the island for 8,000 US Marines.

The ship was told to leave the port and moor off shore while officials investigated if the species was venomous or posed any danger, Guam’s agriculture officials said.

It was then turned away completely two days later and told to return home with the spiders still on board.

“It was because of the quantity,” Joseph Torres, director of Guam’s Department of Agriculture told US military newspaper Stars and Stripes…

It is unclear what happened to the ship or spiders after the ship left Guam.

The spider species remains unidentified.

Probably on their way to Okinawa. Har!

Spider-smuggler stopped in Germany


German customs officials have detained a man who was trying to smuggle more than 160 large trapdoor spiders into the country from Switzerland.

The Swiss driver was also carrying 45 boxes of cockroaches as food for his eight-legged cargo, they said.

The spiders, most of which were “as big as a fist“, were found wriggling around in boxes and plastic bags in his car.

The same man was stopped at the same place two years ago trying to bring some 1,000 spiders for sale at a fair.

“Of course, the officers didn’t open anything. They knew immediately what was going on,” a spokesman for the customs office told the AFP news agency.

Gives me an excuse to use one of my own photos. That’s the front door to a critter something like these – living in my back meadow.

Spiders get their space legs — all eight of them

Two plucky spiders on the international space station have bounced back from a tangled false start to weave amazing new webs in zero gravity.

The orb-weaving spiders were transported to the station aboard NASA’s shuttle Endeavour earlier this week, but initially wove an aimless concoction in their lab enclosure during their first days in weightlessness. But now they’ve taken another stab at weightless web construction.

“We noticed the spiders’ made a symmetrical web,” the space station’s current skipper Michael Fincke radioed to Mission Control today. “It looks beautiful.”

Fincke said he was amazed at how fast the two eight-legged creatures appear to have adapted to living in space.

The spiders are part of an experiment aimed at sparking interest in science among students on Earth. The arachnids are the same kind of spider as “Charlotte” in the children’s book “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White.

I’m certain the spiders don’t even worry too much about budget constraints, space station traffic management or [maybe] what flavor their food may be.

It is pretty cool they figured out how to deal with zero-gravity, though.

Spiders who prey together, stay together — and form enormous colonies

Click photo for example of huge nest

The ability to work together and capture larger prey has allowed social spiders to stretch the laws of nature and reach enormous colony sizes, UBC zoologists have found. The findings may also explain why social spiders thrive in tropical areas but dwindle with increasing latitude and elevation.

“The size of organisms tends to be constrained by a scaling principle scientists call ‘surface to volume ratio,’” says Leticia Avilés, lead author. While organisms typically have energetic needs proportional to their volume, they must acquire nutrients through their surface.

“As the organism grows, this surface to volume ratio declines. In a way, this is how nature keeps the sizes of various species in check.”

The same principle may apply to social groups. The surface area of the three-dimensional webs social spiders use to capture prey does not grow as fast as the number of spiders contained in the nests; so number of incoming prey per spider declines with colony size. But Anelosimus eximius, a species of social spider notable for its enormous colony size – some total more than 20,000 individuals – have gained the ability to stretch that law by cooperating and thus capturing increasingly large insects as their colonies grow.

I wonder if this applies to Facebook?