Spiders!


It kills me that every time I see a splendid spider photo, I can’t share it here — too many people are freaked out by arachnophobia. I wish I could cure it by constantly rubbing more spiders in your faces, but I know that doesn’t work, so I’ll just gently point you in the direction of a couple of collections of gorgeous spiders, and you can choose to go look, if you want.

The Great Fox Spider has been rediscovered in Britain! These are related to wolf spiders, so you probably know what they look like, but it has the most wonderful mottled markings. I know some people are fans of the more garishly colorful spiders, like peacock jumpers, but I’ve come to appreciate the subtlety of the more variable and muted markings, like the ones I see on Parasteatoda. If you must do something bold, go for something simple and clean, like the distinctive swoosh on Steatoda borealis.

You want more variety? Check out Science Friday’s collection of spider photos. My favorite there is the Pirate Spider — there’s something about a gracile spider with delicate line art on its body and long bristling spikes on its legs that I find appealing. But if you’re into big bearish brute mygalomorphs, get an eyeful of that black purse-web spider with its massive chelicerae.

One more photo I wish I had: yesterday, Mary spotted a tiny juvenile cellar spider descending on a strand of silk, and she brought it to me (I’m desperate to see more live spiders, it’s gotten too cold for them). I tried to catch it by snaring its thread, but it got away fast before I could get my camera ready. We think it landed on my pants. So while I didn’t get a picture, I’ve got that going for me, that maybe a baby spider has taken up residency in my clothing. It’s too bad I’m not going to be able to do laundry, ever.

Man, it’d be easier to be a popular blogger if I had an obsession with cats.

Comments

  1. davidc1 says

    Pah ,i saw that in the Guardian a bit back ,i was going to tell you about it .I have seen the photos and they didn’t freak me out .
    In fact it only the House spiders i don’t like ,bastard things , squished a big juicy one in my she during the week (evil cackle ).

  2. davidc1 says

    Just had a look at the collection of spiders ,and to be honest the only ones that made me go eewwww ,were the Brown Recuse ,and the Black Purse bastard .

  3. mailliw says

    I wish I could cure it by constantly rubbing more spiders in your faces, but I know that doesn’t work, so I’ll just gently point you in the direction of a couple of collections of gorgeous spiders, and you can choose to go look, if you want.

    Isn’t the usual cure for phobias gradually exposing the patient to the thing they fear and then providing calming words and reassurance?

    As a mild arachnophobe you are slowly persuading me that there is nothing to fear and much to be fascinated by.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Are there any “fun” Australian spiders that might thrive in Britain? Like, in Boris Johnson’s garden?

  5. Rich Woods says

    @birgerjohansson #4:

    Like, in Boris Johnson’s garden?

    Boris lives in the third-floor Downing Street flat. He’s not allowed out into the No.10 garden in case he craps on the roses and they wither and die.

  6. wzrd1 says

    Looks like the MoD should lose some land for conservation purposes. They’re welcome to come use some of ours, we have plenty.
    Once they’ve reasonably recovered, PZ is welcome to a few breeding pairs. ;)
    I’ll put up one Boris and get it housebroken. I will require a rolled newspaper and spray bottle…

  7. davidc1 says

    @3 Aversion Therapy ,that’s what it is called .
    Well i have been exposed to the snatch snatcher for the last 4 odd years ,still hate the orange skinned ,ferret haired git
    so i would say it doesn’t always work .
    The MOD allowed the Great Bustard Group to re introduce said bird onto Salisbury Plain ,slowly increasing in numbers .

  8. JustaTech says

    wzrd1:
    Interestingly, being on MoD (or DoD) property can actually be helpful to native ecology. No one is going to bother a spider on land where you’ll get shot for trespassing (or there might be unexploded ordinance). And if the land is not heavily used (acts mostly as a buffer from surrounding communities) then it’s pretty ideal for wildlife.
    In the US, if you want to study native fire ecology of the costal chaparral you only have two choices: Northern Baja California Mexico, or Camp Pendleton. In Mexico there isn’t a lot of human disturbance so small fires burn regularly, but it’s hard to get to (few roads) and not always accessible (visas, drug cartels). Camp Pendleton is a huge Marine base (only thing that keeps LA from swallowing San Diego), where small-arms fire regularly starts small fires that are allowed to burn. Again, there are issues of access and unexploded ordinance, but according to an ecologist I know, it’s a good place to study.

  9. mailliw says

    @6 Davidc1

    Aversion Therapy ,that’s what it is called .
    Well i have been exposed to the snatch snatcher for the last 4 odd years ,still hate the orange skinned ,ferret haired git

    Aversion therapy is for treating irrational aversions.

    An aversion to the ferret haired, cheeto faced shit gibbon is perfectly rational behaviour,

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