Spooky Spiders?

by Jackie Lebouitz

It’s just about that time of year again when the public dresses up in a variety of quirky and bizarre costumes with the intent of receiving the sugary confection known as candy.

Ah, Halloween. Please take a moment to lift your eyes from the monitor and take in a breath of fresh Halloween air.

Refreshing, wasn’t it?

Well, today, I’d like to give this blog a focus on one of Halloween’s most notable mascots – the spider. While spiders have a reputation for being creepy, it’s important to understand that looking a certain way doesn’t make something automatically dangerous. In fact, spiders have a long history of being pretty cool. Apart from keeping to themselves, they have an important role in controlling the populations of a lot of insect species. They especially like to tear into some tasty mosquito-meat. Before you say, “ya mosquitoes are dumb but like spiders can kill u,” please note that mosquitoes are accountable for over 725,000 annual deaths worldwide*. Spiders, though? Naw, man. A 2008 paper reported an average of only 6.5 people in the U.S. dead as a result of spider bites. Other countries are seeing similar statistics. In Australia, a group of scientists followed 750 cases and found that there hasn’t been a single death caused by spider venom since 1979. That being said, spiders can bite if provoked (though it’s certainly not their first mode of defense), and if you’re noticing a severe reaction, you should probably get that checked out by a medical professional.

But in other news, check out this SWEET ORBWEAVER that changes color in the fall! It’s commonly known as the Halloween spider.

Screen shot 2014-10-29 at 5.43.52 PM

And in other, other news, we have two new additions to the biology department – Matilda and Crystal.

Grammostola porteri (Matilda)

       Grammostola porteri (Matilda)

Grammostola rosea (Crystal)

          Grammostola rosea (Crystal)

These lovely ladies were a donation from Zoe Wolfe and her mom. Matilda is currently taking up residence in Chris Smith’s office, while Crystal’s new home is a couple doors down at Kim Wills’. They can both be found on the first floor of Stanley Hall, so definitely take the chance to visit!

Note

*Mosquitoes are vectors for various diseases such as malaria and dengue, which are the REAL cause of death here.

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