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Old 02-28-2013, 11:34 AM  
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A Break From The Alex Smith Drama: Urbanization Is Supersizing Spiders

City living brings with it a few shifts in lifestyle compared to rural habitation: shorter commutes, accessible shops and, often, an over-reliance on restaurant dining and fast food. Another side effect of the congested, cramped, cement-laded city life is that the temperature tends to be a little warmer year-round, a shift known as the “urban heat island” effect.

As it turns out, these changes aren’t only affecting cities’ human populations. In Australia, where spiders already have a propensity to be terrifyingly large, new research by University of Sydney PhD candidate Lizzy Lowe, says The Age, found that Sydney’s higher temperatures and easier access to food are driving the spiders to grow even bigger.

She studied the golden orb weaver in three types of environments in and around Sydney – urban parks, remnant bushland and continuous bushland. Twenty sites were studied and, for each spider web found, she assessed its proximity to man-made objects and vegetation.

Comparing the sizes of the spiders, she found that the city spiders outpaced the country spiders. And, though her research focused only on Golden orb weaver spiders, she suggests that the same effect can probably be seen in other species.

A female golden orb weaver spider. Photo: Arthur Chapman


http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smar...izing-spiders/
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Old 03-12-2014, 08:31 PM   #106
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What. The. ****?





Spiders, thank goodness, havenít evolved assassin drones. But the specialized hunters of the family Archaeidae can kill at a distance.


https://www.sciencenews.org/article/...ssassins#video

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Old 06-06-2014, 02:35 PM   #107
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Spiders Get Information From the Vibrations of Their Webs

Depending on the frequency, a vibrating thread of silk can tell a spider if it needs to repair its home or go collect a snared snack

By Rachel Nuwer
smithsonian.com


Spider webs are already impressive architectural feats, but new research reveals that these structures have another amazing property that's invisible to the human eye. Like a violin string, each silk thread, when plucked or moved, is capable of producing a unique acoustic signature. Those varying vibrations, researchers told National Georgraphic, alert the spider to the activities of its silken home, from a trapped insect to damage that needs to be repaired.

These acoustic properties likely evolved because of spiders' poor eyesight, NatGeo writes. They can't see an insect trapped in their web, but they can feel and hear its vibrations as it struggles to escape. Spiders also pluck at their web strings themselves, sending out probing acoustic feelers to different corners of their web, and registering that information through not one but eight legs, NatGeo describes. The spiders, the researchers report, can register movements that occur on a scale as small as 1/1000th the width of a human hair.

The silk, it seems, is specially designed for this purpose. In trials, researchers found that it has a much broader acoustic range than other fibers they tested (both ones found in nature and ones produced in the lab). As NatGeo points out, materials scientists are also excited about this finding since it might lead to improved supersensory devices.




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Old 06-06-2014, 04:56 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holladay View Post
Nice lil PSA on spiders. Quite educational.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=sHzdsFiBbFc
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Old 06-06-2014, 06:00 PM   #109
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