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OCTOBER 13, 2012
Science Saturday - SPIDERS!!!

They’re creepy and crawly and often hidden away in dark corners. Spiders may seem scary but really they are an important part of our ecosystem. Orb spiders are just one species of spiders. They spin webs in orbs, aka in circles with spokes radiating from the center. The first thread the spider puts down for the web is called the bridge. Spider silk is stronger than steel. In Southeast Asia orb spiders can make webs up to 8 feet across. People in this area use these webs as nets for fishing.
 
Orb spiders are found around the world and in a variety of formats. Spiders are the original vampires. They insert their fangs into the victim and suck the nutrients out of the trapped insect. Not all orb spiders spin webs. Some go fishing with sticky strands of silk. They are cunning in the methods of trapping of their food. Some emit scents similar to the mating smells of their prey and others make strands of silk that glow with ultraviolet light, tricking their prey into thinking it is flying into a flower.
 
These spiders can lay anywhere from 4-1,200 eggs depending on the species of orb. Most of the spiders will only live for a year and die when the first frost comes. There are other threats to the spiders as well. Wasps will sting and paralyze the spider, lay wasp eggs on the body of the spider and then bury the spider. When the wasp eggs hatch they have a readily available food source in the still living spider. Glad I’m not a spider.
 
Are you ready for Halloween yet? Did you hang up some spiders as part of your decorations? Now you can awe your friends with spider facts.

Want to know more?  Check out our online database International Wildlife.


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