Tagged With spiders

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Imagine this thing that has actually happened: You're in the US when your infant develops a strangely-shaped skin lesion. Seeing this disgusting skin lesion and thinking it might be anthrax, you take your child to the doctor. "Doc, I think I my kid has anthrax," you might say. The doctor's eyes roll. "It's obviously a spider bite," doc probably replies. Turns out your kid had anthrax all along.

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Recent news reports that a man had both his legs amputated after being bitten by a white-tailed spider have again cast this spider in a negative light. Experts have since said amputations may have been wrongly blamed on a spider bite, and authorities now consider a bacterial infection to be responsible for the man’s injuries. Despite this, the damage to the largely harmless white-tail may have been done.

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Say hello to Califorctenus cacachilensis, a new species of spider found in a remote mountain region of Baja California Sur. This elusive, softball-sized arachnid prefers the dark and cosy confines of caves, which seems entirely appropriate given its gruesome appearance. Also, we are never going into caves ever again.

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Spider silk has some amazing properties, with a higher tensile strength than steel (though still half that of Kevlar), while being highly ductile. Forget about bullet-proof vests or web-shooters, when can I wear the stuff... without having to run through the bush with my eyes closed? Turns out the answer is "now", or at least "soon", with the US-based Bolt Threads debuting its first spider-silk garment — a tie.

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2016 was a difficult year and 2017 doesn't stand to get any better, so here's the bad news — the ghost spiders have flown over to a remote island, evolving into new species scientists were previously unaware of. In order to fly, spiders use a technique called ballooning, turning their silk into a sort of kite that takes them long distances. National Geographic reports that a new study finds that ghost spiders — named for their light complexion — ballooned themselves to the famous Robinson Crusoe Island and have since evolved at a rapid pace.

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Researchers from the UK and Spain have shown that spiders are capable of tuning their webs, allowing these eight-legged critters to receive specific information about their environment, including the presence of prey, potential mates and the structural condition of the web.

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Trap-jaw spiders hunt by sneaking up on their prey and rapidly snapping their mandibles shut, but scientists weren't entirely sure about the mechanics involved. Using high-speed video, researchers from the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History have chronicled just how these spiders manage such an impressive combination of power and speed. The details can now be found in Current Biology.

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Video: Here's time lapse footage of a garden orb spider building out its web. It's really interesting to see the process from the start when it seems like a few random strands connected to each other, and especially cool to see it at the end when it's all completed and ready to catch its first prey. The whole web spinning process is detailed perfectly to help you understand what's going on too.

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Spiders are notorious for their bizarre and often violent mating practices. New research shows that, in order to avoid getting eaten during sex, male nursery spiders will tie up their partners with silken threads. And yes, it's as horrible as it sounds.