Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spider Sunday 5-6-12

It's Sunday, so it must be time for spiders! Here are a few updates from the world of the coolest arthropods there are:

Just in case you thought your size protected you

Snake-eating spiders! A few weeks ago, we had the orb weaver in Cairns eating an unlucky brown tree snake, and now, here's a redback spider from Port Hedland in Western Australia enjoying a similar meal. It's not just in Australia, either! A while ago we had one locally, at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, where a black widow made a slow but gluttonous meal out of an unfortunate coral snake. And those are just the ones we know about. Snakes beware.

Speaking of black widows...

I did a Friday 5 post on the beauties, and why they're my favorite spiders. It's just my own measly blog, but it is my blog, so I can promote my own stuff if I want to. Go check it out if you're so inclined and tell me about your favorite spiders!

I, for one, welcome our new robot spider overlords

Don't worry, it's not really a spider. More like a giant ... robot ... arm ... thing. At an MIT Media Lab, scientists are teaching a robot to weave webs, based on preset structures. One day, they hope to make the process autonomous. I already said I welcome them, right?

Peter Parker's web shooters can't be far away

Scientists , including Jeffery Yarger from my alma mater, Arizona State University, are using high-energy X-rays to study spiders' dragline silk (the webbing they let out to dangle in front of your face). Ultimately, they'd like to produce artificial spider silk that makes use of the same amazing mechanical and elastic properties.


Korinthia Klein said... Best Blogger Tips

What an interesting blog! My brother is an entomologist who did his graduate work in Arizona and he loved the insect life there. He also worked as a model maker for the American Museum of Natural History for a while. He's now just starting a teaching position in Wisconsin, and most of his research is in sleep and bees. There's a link on my blog to his work if you're interested.

Your photography of the natural world is very good! (As is your writing.)