Male animals can be greedy about paternity. They’ve evolved a ton of different strategies to help them monopolize a female’s eggs. Beating up rivals is a general favorite. Some species use long bouts of sex to keep females away from new mates. Still others stop up female genitals with gooey plugs or bits of broken… »
When your work involves balancing on thin threads, wrapping up struggling prey, and trying to bite it, you can expect a few accidents—especially if the prey can bite back. One group of spiders has an effective solution for when they get bitten by venomous prey. »
Arachnologists have found a whole new genus of spiders in the deserts of Namibia and South Africa, and a couple of the new species seem to have some peculiar habits.
Biologists have terrifying news: some spiders can fly. Of course, technically they’re just gliding, but that’s still a feat for a creature with eight legs and no wings. It’s also a big surprise for biologists. »
The bite of a Brazilian wandering spider might not kill you, but it can make you wish you were dead. The cocktail of toxins in its venom produces a suite of not-so-delightful effects like swelling, intense pain, paralysis, and if you’re male, a painful erection that lasts for hours. »
He’s got a bright blue mask, flashy racing stripes, and dance moves he’s ready to use on some lucky lady. Say hello to Maratus personatus, a newly-named species of peacock spider from Western Australia. »
Have you ever looked out into your backyard at night and wondered how many spiders are lurking out there? If you have a flashlight, you can spot them by the creepy green glow of their eyes. »
You probably already know male black widow spiders are risking their lives when they go courting—but it’s actually worse than that. They face tough competition for the “honor” of mating. Once a virgin black widow female puts up a pheromone-laden mating web, males run in from all around to try their luck. »
Male spiders don’t have a penis – all their sex is digital. After ejaculating onto a tiny piece of webbing, a male sucks his sperm into a chamber at the tip of one of the short limbs on his head. Once he convinces a female to accept him, he’ll push that appendage inside her genital opening and (hopefully) make some… »
Hate spiders all you want, there’s no river wide enough to keep them away. Turns out, nature’s crafty little web builders are also master sailors, using their legs to catch the wind and their silk to anchor their bodies on water. »
Wolf spiders are deaf—they don’t have the right structures for hearing. However, they are very good at sensing other kinds of vibrations, and they use this ability to communicate. One species of wolf spider plays songs on dead leaves to attract mates.
Not all spider silk is created equal. Some spiders spin webs of wet, sticky silk. Others like the Uloborus spider have fluffy webs made of nanoscale filaments. But those fluffy webs are just as good at catching prey, likely thanks to their electrostatic charge. »
File this one under: Oh HELL no. While we know that our ever-industrializing lifestyles make survival tough for animals like birds and mountain lions, in at least one case urbanization is helping a species to thrive. Thanks to the artificial conditions we create, our cities are growing ultrafertile megaspiders. »