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Archive for the ‘Spiders’ Category

The Oldest Spider Web Ever Found Was Built More Than 140 Million Years Ago

Some arachnid enthusiasts insist that spiders are, in fact, beautiful creatures. Many arachnid lovers are convinced that the supposed elegance and charm of spiders is tragically lost on those who fear them. Although beauty is subjective, most people would probably agree that animals such as horses, lions and peacocks are more deserving of the label than spiders. That being said, there is no denying a spider’s talent for web design. Of course, spiders are not tech savvy creatures with a knowledge of computer software; instead, spiders are capable of building awe-inspiring silk webs that even the most fearful of arachnophobes could not disparage. Not all spider webs appear as silken masterpieces of near perfect symmetry. The group of arachnids known as orb-weavers are the most gifted of all web-building spiders. While orb-weaver spiders create the most geometrically sound web designs, all spider webs are built to last, as they are more durable than steel and tougher than kevlar. However, as durable as spider webs are, it is odd to find one that has lasted for 140 million years, but this is exactly what a group of researchers recently found in England.

24183849 - zebra jumping spider - salticus scenicus

It should be mentioned that the ancient spider web was fossilized in amber, but this is still impressive considering that amber fossils only form around objects that are durable enough to make an impression on viscous tree resin. This discovery also shows that a spider web can maintain structural integrity during the long process of amber-fossilization. Upon microscopic examination, researchers found that the fossil contained a sticky substance that modern spiders use to fuse silk strings together during web construction. Spiders adapted the ability to produce this sticky substance in order to capture a greater amount of prey, as well as larger sized prey.  According to paleobiologist Martin Brasier of Oxford University, these droplets indicate that spiders coevolved with insects, which is notable considering that researchers have long assumed that spider evolution occurred later than insect evolution. The fossilized web was created by an extinct ancestor of orb-weaver spiders during a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Do you believe that possessing eight legs gives spiders a specific advantage that has not yet been considered by scientists?

 

 

 

Spider Control Tips | J&J Exterminating

  • Avoid keeping clothing and shoes on the floor, especially if in an area known for spiders; consider storing inside plastic containers.
  • Seal cracks and crevices around the home.
  • Vacuum/sweep away webs in and around the home.24183849 - zebra jumping spider - salticus scenicus
  • Shake out all clothing that has been in the laundry basket before wearing/washing.
  • Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free.
  • If a spider bites you, contact your primary care physician for medical advice.
  • If you have an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest control professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.

Spider Control

Black Widows Use Their Silk To Combat Rodents

Black Widows Use Their Silk To Combat RodentsTyler Texas Spider Control

When we think of black widow spiders we think of painful and venomous bites that may kill. However, researchers are learning that these notorious spiders are capable of defending themselves in multiple ways, and not just with the use of venom. Black widows use their venom when attacking prey or biting animals or humans, but when battling larger sized rodents, a different combat technique becomes necessary. Not only do black widows often fight rodents, but, amazingly, they also win most of the time. When it comes to fighting off superior sized rodents that possess greater physical strength, the black widow will resort to spraying its rodent enemy with silk. This particular method of black widow combat is fittingly referred to as “silk flicking”.

Despite popular belief, black widows do not always use their venom to kill prey and attackers. This is due to the fact that venom is expensive for the spiders to make, and therefore, they cannot afford to use venom during every violent fight involving other animals. Fascinated by the black widow’s different combat styles, researchers have recently investigated how these spiders respond to various threat levels. In order to stimulate a low-level threat, the researchers poked the black widows while they were in their webs. In order to create a medium-level threat, the spider was prodded sixty times. To simulate the high-level threat, the researchers mimicked the attack movements of rodents by pinching the black widow’s body three separate times.

Not surprisingly, the defense-response differed in all three cases. When the spiders were poked once, they simply retreated in annoyance, but when the spiders were poked numerous times, the spider retreated and played dead before flicking a small amount of silk. However, two percent of spiders undergoing the mid-threat simulation attempted to bite the researcher’s finger. In fact, the black widows only bit once their entire bodies were repeatedly pinched. This shows that black widows will only attempt to bite if they perceive an imminent threat that leaves them no other choice but to viciously defend themselves form their attacker. The results of this study should come as comforting news to arachnophobes who are afraid of sustaining venomous black widow bites, as these spiders only seem to attack when their life depends on an aggressive style of defense. This makes sustaining a black widow bite highly unlikely, unless you pick it up and squeeze it of course.

Have you ever spotted a black widow in the wild? If you have, did you approach it, or try to trap it?

Home Décor for the Spider Lovers

Home Décor for the Spider Lovers

Most of us like to decorate our homes with items like family pictures, colorful rugs, beautiful paintings or photographs, and other items you can find at Pier 1 Imports. There are a plethora of vendors that sell these normal home décor items, but what if you want something a little more original…say a stuffed spider mounted in a frame? Stranger items like these can be much harder to track down, but lovers of tarantulas are in luck. One woman in Washington decided to start her own home décor business in 2014, taking stuffed spiders and turning these creepy critters into striking wall ornaments that people are sure to notice.

Carly Haney began creating and selling her gothic Victorian and baroque inspired spider home décor pieces in 2014, first at booths at local fairs. Her success eventually lead to her being able to sell her one of a kind pieces to the rest of the world online on websites such as Etsy. The specimens she uses come already prepared for mounting, meaning they’ve already been gutted and stuffed. Haney has to first gradually rehydrate the spider corpse by keeping wrapped in a wet paper towel until it has returned to a more natural looking state. She can then repose the spider into whatever position suits the piece she is working on.

Haney is particularly fond of using the spider species Nephila, a giant orb-weaving genus of spiders, which are quite similar to the hairy tarantulas. After carefully posing the spider and pinning it to a Styrofoam base, Haney chooses a frame that complements that specific specimen, taking traits such as shape, size, and coloring into account. She then mounts the spider in the frame, accenting it with vintage doilies and craft paper to accentuate the gothic feel of her pieces. What really sets Haney’s pieces apart from other taxidermy displays featuring small animals is her practice of refraining from setting her critters behind glass or in shadow boxes, leaving them exposed to the air. This really allows people to get up close and personal with the spiders, and see the critters from all angles.

Would you or anyone you know be brave enough to place a mounted spider on your wall as home decoration?

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