Somehow spiders are in the spot light lately and the news is unanimous…spiders are the new COOL!! They are beautiful, they are essential and they are fascinating! You just need to get to know them. I’ve put together this short blog just as an introduction to the introduction to the endless variety in spider-world. The hope is, that next time you come face to face with little 8-eyes, you might stop to wonder what clever secrets they hold and let him go about his business.
Of all the attributes ascribed to spiders, cute, might not be what comes to mind, but animation artist, Joshua Slice tried it and his little furry friend, Lucas is stealing arachnophobic hearts as far as The Tube would take it! Joshua’s 5 year old nephew, also Lucas, does the voice and the result is so adorable, you will never look at a spider in the same way. Check out this clip. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoYVZmKSYFg]
Having established now that spiders can actually be cute…we are going to take a look at the “AMA-ZING” side of them!
Take the Net-Casting Spiders, for instance. They spin a net and then hold it really, really still while they wait for breakfast to walk past. They will quickly throw the net, wrap it up like a ….wrap… and then give it a good shot of venom. The venom makes the food lie still and turns the insides into a mush ready to be slurped up…like a smoothie…
Then there are those who spin a waterproof silk nest under water. They go up to the surface, trap air between the hairs on their bodies, go down again and release it into the nest, forming a bell like bubble under water. These are called Diving Bell Spiders. They live, hunt, eat and rest under water in their little “bubble-home”. When the air runs low, they will fetch more and release it in the bell.
Bolas Spiders might just be the the closest you get to a cowboy spider! They dangle a sticky blob from a strand of silk. Then they releases pheromones of a female moth to attract a male moth. When the moth is close enough, the spiders swing the sticky blob around. The moth comes closer and closer and … wa-dap! …dinner on-line!
Hawaii is such a happy place, it even has Happy-faced Spiders! That is seriously what they are called, because they have…well..happy “faces”.
Cerbalus Aravensis is found in the desert on the border of Israel and Jordan. It has quite an impressive 14cm leg span and could look a lot like someone you would have found in the middle east 4000 years ago who, for instance, roamed the desert for 40 years after walking straight through a sea… As their habitat is being lost because of re-zoning for agriculture and sand mining, the future of these spiders are very uncertain.
Goldenrod Crab Spiders are able to change their body color from white to yellow to blend in with the white and yellow flowers they are found on. It won’t spin a web, but sit in ambush, well camouflaged and when the bee comes past it goes, “Surprise!!!”
There really is no end to the fascinating, unseen world of spiders and their ways. As we go about our daily lives, these little guys fulfill their enormous roles to keep their part in the eco-system in balance by trapping, swinging, swallowing and, in some cases, smiling!!
Featured image: The smiling little spider at the top of this blog is the Spiny-Backed Orb-Weaver found in the southern part of the USA. It’s harmless to humans, as are most spiders…you just need to get to know them.