We need bigger spiders in Minnesota


Poking around in the weeds as we do every summer, looking for spiders, one thing we turn up a lot are frogs. Big frogs. They like to nestle in some nice shady leaves during the day, and we occasionally part some leafy foliage to find a frog looking back at us, as if wondering how dare we intrude on his home. I’ve often thought they need a good predator to teach them a lesson.

Like a clever huntsman spider.

Retreat and predation event near retreat of Damastes sp. (a) Spider specimen of Damastes sp. (THC140, adult female), the prosoma and opisthosoma are approximately 1.5 cm in length (smallest square = 0.1 cm)—Observation 1; (b) Damastes sp. feeding on Heterixalus andrakata (frog) inside of the retreat, built of leaves of Tambourissa sp.—Observation 1, (c) Predation event where Damastes sp. captured Heterixalus andrakata near the retreat—Observation 1; (d) Damastes sp. hiding in the retreat, built of leaves of Cedrela odorata—Observation 4

These cunning ambushers from Madagascar use silk to stitch together a few leaves, making a nice shady refuge that might appeal to a frog looking for respite from the daytime heat. The frog snuggles in, not noticing the large-fanged venomous arthropod lurking in the back, and then snicker-snack, he’s a juicy piece of meat being sucked dry by Damastes.

I don’t know about you, but if I poked my face into a local bush and saw a big glorious spider instead of a fat frog, I’d be delighted. It’s not likely, though, since our harsh winters tend to kill off most of the spiders, giving them only a short growing and breeding season.

Maybe this would be a bright prospect from global warming? Do you think Republicans would be even more resistant to the idea of good legislation if they thought climate change would create a better environment for big hairy blood-suckers? They do have some things in common.

Comments

  1. birgerjohansson says

    Do you think the Republicans might approve for the GM funding to give spiders proper lungs once and for all?
    You might justify the cost with….new, big spiders killing off poor, rural people.
    There is no economic benefit to it, but I am pretty certain they don’t like poor
    people.

  2. Artor says

    birgerjohansson, they should have gotten something done under the previous President, who had a well-established antipathy toward books, if you get my meaning.

  3. blf says

    @1/@2, Teh thugs would be very happy to pretend to fund such a programme provided it did not involve any of that “science” stuff, and they got free shares in the companies doing the work. The actual funds would, of course, come from a mandatory “advance service fee” imposed on the people the spiders are intended to eat; i.e., you pay, you get ate, we profit.

  4. Snidely W says

    Don’t anurans (frogs & toads, etc.) have enough problems?
    First chytrid fungi.
    Now this.
    The horror.

  5. blf says

    The Bugs Strike Back!

    The wabbit does eat carrots. Never trust a carrot-eater. It’s only a short hop to the peas, and then yer doomed, Doomed…

  6. birgerjohansson says

    So the Republicans might get sold on the idea of making the superhero “The Tick” real?
    (swinging around the cityscape, biting people on welfare)
    .
    Artor @ 2 -It took me a long time, but now I finally got it : -)

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