Spiders Enjoy Vegetarian Meals Occasionally

Maevia-inclemens

Spiders have always been known to feed on insects, but zoologists from the University of Basel, the US, and the UK have now been able to show that their diet is more diverse than expected. Their findings show that spiders like to spice up their menu with the occasional vegetarian meal. The Journal of Arachnology […]

Ten New Spider Species Found in Madagascar

Anelosimus-darwini

An international team of researchers has discovered ten new spider species in Madagascar. All ten belong to the genus Anelosimus, which is in the family Theridiidae. The names of some of them are very recognizable. For example, Anelosimus darwini honors Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary biology, and Anelosimus wallacei is named after Alfred Russel […]

Arachnid Matriphagy: These Spider Mothers Literally Die for Their Young

Female-Stegodyphus-regurgitating-to-young-22

By Yael Lubin Maternal care can be costly. In fact, prolonged maternal care can sometimes cause a mother to delay or even forego producing additional young. An extreme case of costly reproduction occurs in the spider Stegodyphus lineatus (in the Old World family Eresidae), where the mother has only a single small clutch of young […]

Spider Bites Highly Unlikely to Cause Bacterial Infections, Study Finds

vetter-spider2

Last year, spider expert Richard S. Vetter, a former staff research associate at the University of California, Riverside, debunked the myth that venomous spiders are commonly found in bananas and other international cargo. Now he and a team of scientists have set their sights on another spider-related question that is circulating among the medical community […]

New Study Provides Key to Identifying Spiders in International Cargo

Cupiennius-chiapanensis

Spiders found in international cargo brought into North America are sometimes submitted to arachnologists for identification. Often, these spiders are presumed to be of medical importance because of their size or similarity to spiders that are known to be toxic to humans. In 2006, after witnessing multiple episodes where harmless spiders were mistaken for toxic […]

Genetic Study Shows Orb-Weaver Spiders do not Share Common Origins

orb-weaver

For decades, the story of spider evolution went like this: Over time spider diversity increased and some evolved new hunting strategies, including the ability to weave orb-shaped webs to trap their prey. From that single origin, the story goes, orb-weaver spiders diverged along different evolutionary paths, leading to today, where several species weave similar — […]

Spiders that Prey on Fish Twice their Size are Found Worldwide

fish-spider

Spiders from five different families prey on small fish in the wild, according to a systematic review recently published in the journal PLOS ONE. Spiders are known to prey on insects, but in recent years researchers have become increasingly aware that spiders are not exclusively insectivorous, and that certain larger-sized species might supplement their insect […]

Black Widow Spider Males Prefer Well-fed Virgin Females

Latrodectus-Hesperus

New research published in the journal Animal Behaviour shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins — a rare example of mate preference by male spiders. The study, authored by Emily MacLeod, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and Maydianne Andrade, a professor in UTSC’s Department […]

Five News Species of Armored Spiders Discovered in Chinese Caves

Sinamma-oxycera

Armored spiders are medium to small species that derive their name from the complex pattern of the plates covering their abdomens, which strongly resembles body armor. Recently scientists have discovered and describe five new species of these spiders lurking in the darkness of caves in Southeast China. The study was published in the open access […]

Orb-weaving Spiders use Webs to Trap Pollen in Addition to Insects

Aculepeira_ceropegia_wp

It looks like spiders may not be the pure predators we generally believe them to be. Dr Dirk Sanders of the University of Exeter has demonstrated that orb web spiders choose to eat pollen, even when insects are available. His research appears in a PLOS One article called “Herbivory in Spiders: The Importance of Pollen […]