spider

Tag archives for spider

Surfactant is a lipoprotein substance that is secreted by special cells located in the alveoli of our lungs. The alveoli are the grape-like structures where gas exchange happens. Without surfactant, these alveoli would collapse and prevent gas exchange. Babies born prematurely often suffer from respiratory distress syndrome because their lungs do not make enough surfactant. Now…

Need pest control, get a spider

A new study shows that globally, spiders consume 400-800 million tons of prey each year. That’s roughly more than double the amount of fish and meat that humans consume. Impressive…yet creepy at the same time. I suppose we should thank them for their pest control efforts. Sources: M Nyffeler, K Birkhofer. An estimated 400–800 million tons of prey…

Goblin Spiders

Happy Halloween! The day just would not be complete without goblin spiders. Check out this neat YouTube video I came across describing species found in Ecuador.

Sailing Spiders

Research published July 3 in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology supports the idea that some species of spiders can catch the wind to “sail” across bodies of water, which they suggest might be why certain spiders seem to be all over the world. While some spiders were already know to catch the breeze to travel by air relatively…

I really never thought of spiders as being “pretty” until I came across these two new species of peacock spiders discovered in southeast Queensland, Australia by Madeline Girard (graduate student from the University of California, Berkeley, who is specializing in peacock spiders). Peacock spiders are not only beautiful, they also engage in elaborate dances during…

City life makes bigger spiders

A new study from researchers at the University of Sydney shows that golden orb-weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) that live in the city are larger and produce more offspring as compared to country living. When they say the spiders are big, they mean really big. The females can reach up to 20-25mm (males are only ~5mm).…

Tarantula insecticide

  Drs. Glenn King and Maggie Hardy at the Institute of Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Australia have discovered a small protein, aptly named orally active insecticidal peptide-1 (OAIP-1), in the venom of Australian tarantulas (Selenotypus plumipes) that can kill prey when ingested orally. According to the study, OAIP-1 is fast acting and more potent…

US Navy funds spider research

The US Navy has decided to sponsor research conducted by Dr. Randy Lewis, a specialist in spider silk, at Utah State University. Their interest in the research lies in the ability for spider silk to maintain adhesiveness even under wet conditions. Therefore, Navy officials are seeking to create a synthetic  spider silk that they can…

Spider creates sculptures

Check out this “sculpure” of a spider discovered by Biologist Phil Torres, created by what may be a new species of Cyclosa found in the Peruvian Amazon. This is not just a pattern weaved by the spider into the web, but instead it is created from debris in the forest (dead insects, leaves, etc.). It…

Strength in Nature

This is a must-see special from NOVA highlighting nature’s secret to creating very strong things: like the beak of a toucan, an abalone shell and a spider’s web. It aired last night on PBS (premiered Jan 2011) and I found myself glued to the TV. Scientists are working hard to try to re-create some of…