Woven lace held in place/By whispers made of thunder
December 17, 2016 10:19 PM   Subscribe

In the sticky jungles of South America, a mysterious spider crafts towers out of silk—confounding scientists with its intricate creations…Now, a new video of spiderlings hatching from one of the towers collected in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park might provide some clues about these spiders' secret lives. posted by Johnny Wallflower (27 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kinda weird that instead of capturing the spiders and simply waiting for them to grow to adulthood and compare their morphology, they instead apparently scraped baby spider guts off a boot heel and hoped the DNA of their obviously super rare spider was in the database, which it wasn't, because duh.

What the hell.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:44 PM on December 17, 2016 [6 favorites]


From a reply in the comments, apparently they did try to raise them, but were not successful due to not having the right food.
posted by tavella at 12:17 AM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


I like this photo. I took it last summer at the park a short walk from here. Every summer the spiders decide to put a net over everything and just hang in the sky. They're smart enough to keep all their delicate lacework away from where a stupid mammal will walk into it. So you can walk right under them.

I should mention I live in spiderland Australia.
posted by adept256 at 12:42 AM on December 18, 2016 [19 favorites]


Comprising a silky spire surrounded by a circular picket fence, the structures are sometimes called "Silkhenges" because of their building material and the abiding mystery of their origin
Based on my extensive knowledge of Stargate SG-1, these cosmic micro structures are actually burial sites for their Goddess Queens or nurseries for their Anointed Ones. Sacred structures to be protected at all -
Failing that, the next best thing is to grind up the spiderlings, extract some DNA, and see if the genetic sequence matches a known species.
Prepare for war. Thor help us all.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:29 AM on December 18, 2016 [5 favorites]


adept256, I'm sure you're a nice person, but NOOOOOOOOOPE.
posted by signal at 5:20 AM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


signal: Anything that reduces the mozzie population is worth it. Spiders are awesome.
posted by pompomtom at 5:23 AM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


instead of capturing the spiders and simply waiting for them to grow

TFA mentions that all attempts to raise them to adulthood have failed, so it's been tried more than once. But yeah, I had the same "WTF?!" reaction at first.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:54 AM on December 18, 2016


I live in spiderland Australia.

Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the wind and nothing more!"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:21 AM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


They're smart enough to keep all their delicate lacework away from where a stupid mammal will walk into it.
Yes, but...
posted by Thorzdad at 7:54 AM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


talk about catching the last train to nopeville
posted by ostranenie at 8:22 AM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Couldn't the spire and fence be to dissuade parasitization by wasps, some of which have evolved to lay eggs on other insects' eggs? I guess though with specialization whatever wasp might lay eggs on whatever spider eggs these might be would also over time have developed a way around the defenses. i'm still going with defensive strategy for the structure of this egg sac though.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 8:34 AM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


What's with the uncomfortable closeups of the dudes?
posted by mikemacman at 9:17 AM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


SPOILER: Adept256's photo is not really scary. And I'm arachnaphobic to the max.
posted by valkane at 9:49 AM on December 18, 2016


Wait, aren't we coming up on summer solstice in South America? Are we sure the spiders aren't setting up for a rave?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


what is it with u and spiders?
posted by jessamyn at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2016


I LIKE OCTOPODS. SUE ME. 🕷🐙
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:37 AM on December 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


Adept256's photo is not really scary.

YMMV, I'm only slightly arachnophobic and it gave me shudders & creeps. SPOILER: spiders above as far as the eye can see.
posted by hat_eater at 1:22 PM on December 18, 2016


Adept256, do you know if those are poisonous spiders, or just creepy? I don't want spiders around me, but they are awesome as wild and far away creatures.

Mutant super-spiders weave webs stronger than bulletproof material


Spiders Create 50,000-Strong Armies In The Peruvian Rainforest


Puppy-Sized Spider Surprises Scientist in Rainforest

posted by aralymn at 5:53 PM on December 18, 2016 [4 favorites]


Mutant super-spiders

Nope.


Spiders Create 50,000-Strong Armies

I said NOPE!


Puppy-Sized Spider

*whimper*
posted by darkstar at 7:00 PM on December 18, 2016


But spiders are such snugglebunnies!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:56 PM on December 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


They do bite, but I've heard it's no worse than a bee sting. You'd have to want to be stung though, given their behavior. If you mess with their web they just run away.

The truth is that no one in Australia has died from a spider bite in decades. They are more likely to kill you by making a surprise appearance in the car. They love those sun visors for example.

There's an amusing poem about that.
posted by adept256 at 9:34 PM on December 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Cheery little ditty.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:39 PM on December 18, 2016


Anybody else spend most of the video yelling at the dude to get the camera off his effing face and show the spiders? Just me? Yeah, ok.
posted by ktkt at 9:46 PM on December 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oooh, yeah... the suprise windshield-spider is probably the animal that's come closest to killing me. My old civic was infested.
posted by pompomtom at 3:36 AM on December 19, 2016


what is it with u and spiders?

OCTOPODS ARE SEXY
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:06 PM on December 19, 2016


Oh darkstar, to recover just think of how cute a spider-sized puppy would be. Not using the puppy-sized spider as an example because they'd be the same size. But a more typically-sized spider would lead to a very tiny puppy. Aww!

Also the only car accident I've had was when I tried to kill a mosquito (casualties: the mosquito, a mailbox, and my windshield), so maybe I should put a spider in the car as insurance.
posted by aralymn at 2:15 PM on December 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Relevant xkcd
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:53 AM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


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