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.