Sunday, September 25, 2005

Spiders for Beginners

` ...Mythbusters style! Except without working demonstrations of what is and isn't physically possible.
` I was thinking about finishing one of several posts I didn't have time complete earlier when I happened to look up photos of wolf spiders and think to myself; "Just as I thought - these are not what Phil and his family says lived in their bathroom!"
` In other words, they didn't have these running around on the shower curtain...


` In truth, wolf spiders are small, tarantula-like hunting spiders, most easily distinguished by one pair of 'binocular-like' eyes being much larger than the other three. See them?
` If one should get trapped in someone's house, it would probably starve to death.

` If you want to know something else, 'tarantula' was originally the name of a Southern European wolf spider whose bite was thought to cause tarantism (apparently, an uncontrollable urge to move), the prescribed remedy for which was to dance the tarantella.
` Wolf spiders do not get as large as tarantulas can, but their similar appearances caused one to be named for the other.
` However, the general form of spider most commonly mistaken for wolf spiders looks like one of those spindly-legged European Tegenaria species (left) - this web page has some very large, detailed photos, though it's not in English.
` Clearly, they look nothing alike!
` However, while some Tegenaria have been introduced around here in Washington, I don't think any have colonized Ohio. Nevertheless, spiders with wide leg-spans and largely hairless legs are often mistaken for wolf spiders, which are generally quite small and compact.
` If you do have giant house spiders (Tegenaria gigantea), be thankful: Those will prevent the potentially nasty hobo spiders (Tegenaria agrestis) from wandering in! (Even so, I wouldn't worry that much...)

` As one can only expect from me, learning about what wolf spiders are and are not, got me thinking about more general spider misconceptions, and ultimately:
` "What
does anyone have to know first in order to really understand anything practical about spiders?"
` Not much, but still, a lot of people have some very wrong ideas about spiders! Some are pretty obvious, but others are much more unexpected.

` For one example, one surprisingly widespread myth that you see in the media today is the simple assumption that spiders are insects. This, I should hope you know, is blatantly untrue. Even so, you may not know that, in the scheme of things, saying that a spider is an insect is like saying that sharks are a type of mammal!
` Of course, the basic body plan of a spider is different than an insect's - perhaps more different than a shark compared with a pig!
` As you can see in the picture of the wolf spider, the head and thorax ("chest") are contained in one body segment. On that segment are four pairs of legs and, generally, four pairs of eyes. If you'll notice, there are no antennae, though spiders have another type of modified leg called a pedipalp on either side of the jaws. (Sometimes, these are mistaken for extra walking legs.)
` The spider's only other body segment, the abdomen, contains its heart, lungs, intestine, and silk glands, and is distinctly rounded and smooth on the outside.

` Insects, on the other hand...
` They're quite a different story. As you can see, this mosquito's head has two long antennae, two large, compound eyes, and is connected to a well-defined neck, none of which a spider has!
` The thorax is the next segment from which three pairs of legs and two wings are attached (though many other insects have four wings, or none at all).
` Unlike a spider's abdomen, an insect's looks 'jointed' from the outside because it is divided somewhat into smaller segments.
` In addition, insects go through a metamorphosis stage from larva to adult, where the adult doesn't grow, while spiders are born fully-developed and simply grow larger by moulting their exoskeletons. In fact, the largest spiders in size have lived 10-40 years!

` But, if you're saying to yourself; "Yeah, yeah, I already know that!" then, why don't we go onto the next stage in spider identification?

` I'm sure that most people who run across this post will have heard the word arachnid, which is the group in which spiders are classified.
` What most people do not know - perhaps you are one of the lucky few - is that spiders are not the only type of animal in the arachnid group.
` Ticks (Metastigmata), for example, are another kind of arachnid, but surely you wouldn't mistake one for a spider (Araneae), would you?
` I should hope not!!
` So, let's play a little game, shall we? It's called: Which One Is The Spider? I'd give out delicious pieces of candy as prizes, however I've decided to let you cheat by going through this with you. I know that isn't really sporting of me, but why not? It's much shorter and less confusing that way...

` For example, what's this here? It does resemble a spider, though in fact it is a whipscorpion! (Ot at least, it was...) They are named so because they have whip-like front legs for hunting (pointed backwards here). They are classified in the clade Amblypygi, along with 'sun spiders', which more closely resemble spiders.
` They aren't venomous, though - in fact, the whipscorpion uses its longest pair of legs as 'feelers' to find food and its spiny pedipalps to crush it.

` This? Seriously... that's a scorpion (Scorpiones) if I ever saw one! Scorpions are distinctive, of course, largely because they have a long and jointed, moveable abdomen with a stinger near the anus. (Sounds doubly unpleasant when you put it that way...) Otherwise they have the typical number of legs, plus its pedipalps have some fun-looking pincers.
` One thing you might not know about scorpions is how absolutely cute the young ones are: They're born two at a time, and look just like their parents! They're fairly helpless, though, which is why the mother scorpion carries them around on her back until they're strong enough to fend for themselves. (Some spiders do this as well.)

` What is this? Hmm. It looks rather like a spider, but look: It has a segmented abdomen and a crazy-looking head! Oo, just like one of those so-called 'deadly, screaming, giant camel spiders' that gnaw on the U.S. military in Iraq!
` Ye-ah!
` Of course, 'camel spiders' are actually quite small and don't even have venom glands (except possibly one species found in India) - nor are they spiders. The name for them is 'solpugid', and they are classified in the Solifuga clade.
` These animals are completely harmless to humans, and in fact cannot jump and - most likely - cannot outrun humans. Contrary to Iraqi (and now, American) urban legend, they do not anesthetize large animals to chew on them (they hunt small animals) and do not lay their eggs under your skin! The same goes for all spiders!
` They do, however, sometimes make a whirring sound, and they may indeed try to chase your shadow - however this is just because they're hot (it's a desert!) and are just trying to keep themselves from frying to death. To them, people are shade-trees.
` Honestly, one of the things you learn to do when you are a soldier is to make up stories like camel spiders attacking your comrades as entertainment. After all, there's not much in the way of pleasantries when you're on-location in the military.

` What's this one? It's got four pairs of legs and very large pincered pedipalps, which it is using to attack a millimeter-stick.
` This is what they call a pseudoscorpion (Pseudoscorpiones). They're generally tiny enough to not be noticed by anyone... until they take a wrong turn and crawl up your leg! At which point they are totally at your mercy.

` And what could this be? Not a spider, as it's got just one body segment and only two eyes on a little bump in the middle of its head. You guessed it - that's a harvestman (Opiliones), one of thousands of small arthropods to be called a 'daddy long-legs'.
` Some other important differences between harvestmen and spiders are that harvestmen have a different type of lung than spiders, and they also don't have silk glands.
` Another notable difference is that they have no venom glands at all, though I've heard repeatedly throughout my life that they are more venomous than any spider and yet unable to bite humans.
` The fact is, they're
not in any way venomous: They don't need venom because most of what they eat is already dead!
` (A long legged spider that is also called a 'daddy long-legs' has never been shown to be dangerous to humans.)

` So, is this the spider? Nope. It's a miniscule little mite, which is grouped in the Acarina clade with ticks. Notice - its oval shape closely resembles that of the dust mites you sleep with every night, though its legs are a lot longer. And crawlier!
` Uh.. yeah.

` Which leaves this one. Not only is it a spider, it's a jumping spider, a spunky little predator which hunts its quarry by leaping on it. In fact, they hop around a lot, period, hence the name.
` So, if you're not sure if something you might see crawling over your leg is a spider (clade Araeneae) or not - assuming you're not frantically trying to get it off - it's easiest to tell spiders from the rest by their thin 'waist' and solid-looking (non-segmented) abdomen.

` ...Or if you've walked into its web. Not all spiders make webs, though, like the wolf spider and the jumping spider, nor do crab spiders or ground spiders.
` They're very adept at building things, as not everything made of spider silk is a web, anyway. Egg sacs are, predictably, large pouches to keep eggs in; drag lines are made for either rappelling down or parachuting up; also, plenty of ground-living spiders make little 'retreats' in which they can rest.
` Of course, there are many different types of webs, including sticky ones like the radial, spiraling 'orb web' (left), and the 'cob web', which is a dense, random-looking structure where various strands extend to handy objects in three dimensions.
` There are also non-sticky webs such as the 'sheet web' (dew-covered closeup, right), which resembles a hammock or a sheet, and the 'funnel web', which is a type that conceals the spider in the center, until something bumps into it...

` Whether a spider catches its insect and hummingbird prey via web or by pouncing on them (where the smallest mammals might also fall victim!), it generally poses no threat to humans.
` Even if a spider should happen to bite a human, we're millions of times larger than their prey, so how many humans get killed by spider bites? It may surprise you to know how unusual it really is.
` For example, in Australia - home of the 'deadly' red-back and Sydney funnel-web - nobody has died from any spider bite since 1979! Part of the reason why is that spider venoms are pretty slow-acting on us large humans, and if they get out of hand, there's always antivenin.
` (Keep in mind, the venom of the male duck-billed platypus is about as bad as the strongest of spiders, though the effects only last three months. Do you suppose that there are many people paranoid about accidentally touching a platypus? It does happen.)
` In fact, many people think, due to the rarity of spider bites, that the smaller spiders are incapable of biting humans.
` Of course, a spider only three millimeters long is perfectly capable of biting you! Spider bites are actually quite rare because they will not bite unless they're trapped against your skin (i.e. inside your shirt sleeve).
` Even if that should happen, almost all spiders are harmless to humans, and regardless of toxicity, may well not waste venom when defending themselves ('dry bites' are pretty common).

` A tarantula, for example, subdues its prey using more violence than venom, though its largeness might make a curious wildcat think; 'That thing is the perfect size for my stomach!'
` Therefore, many tarantula species have sharp, irritant-coated hairs on their abdomens for the express purpose of being brushed into the eyes of a threatening animal poking its nose a bit too close.
` Why not defend itself with a stronger venom? Spider venoms are
made to subdue tiny animals like insects and shrews, not to keep danger away!
` So tarantulas - which may grow up to a foot across - do not have a dangerous bite. How else could they star in so many movies?
` As pets, I'd guess that they are less dangerous then cats: Though both are quite unlikely to bite, if a
cat bit you, a serious infection is likely!
` On the other hand, some small spiders such as the black widow, the related red-back spider, the brown recluse, and a handful of others, do indeed have a potentially nasty bite.
` Thankfully, each species generally lives in one small area of the world (unless it's been introduced into another area, such as the European hobo spiders that now live around here in Washington).

` For example, you have no reason to expect to run into a brown recluse if you live outside of the following area:
` Anywhere north of the Gulf of Mexico that is between midwestern Texas (nearly to the corner of New Mexico), the southeastern corner of Nebraska up to the southern half of Iowa, the southernmost tip of Ohio, the very westernmost tip of South Carolina, and the western tip of Florida.
` Aw heck, here's a detailed map of different recluse species for reference. If you are outside of its range, don't bet on finding one, even if you're looking in its preferred habitat.
` Of course, many people living nowhere near brown recluses may think they've seen one or have been bitten by one anyway. (For example, people I know from northern Ohio say; "Yes, we get bit all the time up here!") Why is this?
` Part of it may have to do with the fact that it is routinely falsely reported that people have been bitten by one outside of its range.
` Understandably, arachnologists are forever pulling their hair out over these things - for more information, check out this American Medical News interview with an actual arachnologist and an informed emergency room doctor.

` If you're too lazy to look, you also learn that:

They're not the first to try to correct that impression. In 1983, arachnologist Willis Gertsch, PhD, and toxicologist Findlay Russell, MD, wrote in Toxicon that of some 600 spider bite cases seen at Los Angeles County General Hospital over 10 years, 80% were something else.

"Patients came to the hospital as ... 'probably brown recluse,' and the brown recluse is not found within a thousand miles of the hospital," they wrote.

` And,

The brown recluse, Loxosceles reclusa, inhabits primarily South Central states, from Texas to Tennessee. But bites are reported regularly across the country. It is a myth, says Vetter, that brown recluses are transported all around the country and "that's how people get bit."

` But,

"Many physicians, when they see a necrotic wound, don't have a broad differential diagnosis for it. And they've been told that brown recluse is what causes wounds like that." At a recent conference of Pennsylvania emergency physicians, he asked how many had seen brown recluse in their ED "and most of them raised their hands."

Isolated itinerant individuals could not be responsible for the hundreds of bites reported outside the spider's territorial range every year. Populations of related Loxosceles species exist in Southwest deserts, but virtually all bites are reported from populated areas.

` Interestingly,

"The most common thing I see misdiagnosed is just a common cellulitis," says Dr. Bush. "In the center of the wound there will be a little necrosis."

Dr. Stoecker, a dermatologist at the University of Missouri Health Sciences Center in Columbia -- the heart of brown recluse country -- offers some rules of thumb: "If you have a big bite, not irregular, no spread -- forget it."
That is more likely a bacterial infection, he says; or pyoderma gangrenosum: "It's big, it's wet. These things ulcerate early. Within three days, you can put a probe 10 cm into the wound." The lesion from a brown recluse bite is usually dry and not as extensive.
` Aha!For loxoscelism [recluse invenomation], supportive care is the standard. But many look-alike conditions call for specific treatments: antibiotics for bacterial infections; iodides for sporotrichosis; change of regimen for drug-related outbreaks. False spider bite diagnoses can delay or prevent treatment of serious conditions. A worst case may be necrotizing fasciitis. "This is a medical and surgical emergency," says Dr. Bush. "You start broad-spectrum antibiotics immediately, and excision. You have to get out in front of it. NF has a huge mortality."
` In fact, brown recluse antivenin is being developed, and yet...Ironically perhaps, notes Dr. Gomez, it is the limited scope of the brown recluse -- that only "maybe 10 of the 50 states" have the spider and "the vast majority [of victims] will do just fine with purely supportive care" -- that makes it unlikely pharmaceutical firms will invest in bringing the antidote to market.

style="color: rgb(153, 255, 153);">` That's bad, because:medicine possible, and dispelling myth -- "because right now, in practical terms, there is no way to identify brown recluse bites."
` Apparently, the term 'brown recluse bite' is actually a blanket term for many different types of necrotic lesions. Some physicians will tell such patients that, whether or not they even saw a spider at all, that it must be a brown recluse bite, without knowing anything about the spider!
` Sadly, poison control centers rely on data from uninformed callers, so they report medical tratment of various poisonous spiderd where none have occurred.
` This helps explains the purpose of web pages such as
this one.
` Keep in mind that, sixty percent of 'brown recluse bite' reports are from outside of its range, and are thus false (avoiding humans by nature, the recluse is not a likely hitchhiker)! In fact, the vast majority of 'brown recluse bites' outside of its range are either from fleas or ticks, or are not even bites at all!
` Many types of necrotic skin lesions that have indeed been mistaken for brown recluse bite include severe bacterial infections, viral infections, fungal infections, Lyme disease, chemical burns, severe poison ivy, allergic reactions to certain things, lymphoma, diabetic ulceration, and any of a number of other things.
` To learn more about such misdiagnoses, here's an entire article about them.
` So, how could this happen when no spider is seen? Because when a person unexplainably develops a sudden lesion in the skin, it is usually assumed that a spider must have bitten them at some point. Considering all it could be, there is no sense in saying that.
` As it mentions above, this can be very serious! Another example is Lyme disease - while curable if caught early on - is very serious if it is allowed to progress! Nevertheless, places where there are no brown recluses around for hundreds of miles, 'brown recluse bite' is still a common enough blanket diagnosis for things that are not caused by bites!
` What the heck?
` Consider that the start of a Lyme disease 'breakout' looks virtually the same as a brown recluse bite, but mistakenly treating it as a spider bite instead can and does result in central nervous system disorders, heart disorders, and who knows what else?
` Misdiagnosis in this case is very simple to prevent - it's the reason why doctors need to know first of all where the spider lives! That really pays. And even so, identifying the spider itself is a real pain:

` You see, another myth about the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) is that it is identifiable by a fiddle- or violin-shaped marking right behind the eyes.
` Yes... just like hundreds of
other spiders!
` While it often will (but not always!) have a spot recognizeable as such, the brown recluse is still often confused with other species in widely-ranging families, in genera such as Mimetus, Anachemmis, Kukulcania, Titiotus, and, in fact, every other medium-sized brown spider in the United States! (In fact, nearly all species of spider have a violin-shaped marking somewhere on their bodies!) In fact, most spider markings are utterly useless in identifying a species.
` When Phil told me about someone he knows here in Washington was bitten by a brown recluse, I asked him how this guy had figured that out. "He saw what it looked like!" Okay, that's pretty laughable evidence. I think, if the bite was that nasty, it might be another type of brown spider, which I'll get to in a minute...
` So, how do you identify this species? Here is a closeup of an L. reclusa's head:
` A helpful way to tell it apart from other spiders is the fact that it has six eyes, arranged in pairs in a v-shape.
` Most other spiders have eight eyes arranged in rows, more or less, so the triangular arrangement of eyes is the first and foremost important feature to look for!
` If the spider also has a fiddle-like marking similar to the one shown and you find it in, say, Mississippi, then it could be one. If it's nowhere near a human settlement, then there's an even better chance it could be!
` (However, the only way to be sure that it is not another Loxosceles species is to look at it under a microscope, or, in the case of females, dissect it!)

` As I've mentioned, I live in the hobo spider's modern range, the Pacific Northwest: The species does not live in Nevada or California, and you are not very likely to run into one past Utah. However, there is no reliable way to identify the hobo without looking at it under a microscope! Why? Consider these facts:
` Over a thousand spiders in the world spin funnel-webs.
` Thousands of spider species have the same type of 'chevron' markings.
` All male spiders have larger pedipalps than females, because these are their sex organs.

` Even so, hobo spiders are commonly said (by non-experts) to be identifiable by their funnel-shaped web, chevron markings (which not every one of them has!), and the male's large, boxing glove-like pedipalps. Not very helpful, are they?
` In fact, there are about 200 different species of spider living within the hobo spider's range that are easily confused with the photos on the Hobo Spider Website, made by the (missing!) spider expert Darwin Vest.
` The truth of the matter is: You cannot identify any spider by a photograph, even if all its markings are identical, because they will, most likely, look 'just like' other species! Species, in fact, that may have never been photographed, or otherwise ones you have never heard of (unless you are an expert) and so, would not know to consider them.
` A spider's body structure is, of course, more reliable to look at than the markings - though this won't do you much good unless you're a spider expert - and besides, some crucial differences are actually found on the insides of otherwise identical-looking spiders!
` This is why I, a spider non-expert, do not bother to profess that I know what a particular spider is! It's fairly pointless. There are too many hundreds of species around to even learn about without years of schooling!
` Deer, on the other hand, can be identified positively by laymen from photographs and a knowledge of where they live, and this is because there are so few of them!

` Thankfully, almost all spiders are completely harmless to humans, so if you see a kind of spider that looks unusual to you (which, most likely, nearly all are), I wouldn't worry about it being toxic. If you haven't heard of it - as the small handful of dangerous spiders are the best-known to the general public - there's not really any cause for concern.
` Keep in mind, ten to thirty species live in the average human household, and you have probably only noticed... what? Two? Three? In fact, there are many species adapted to living most easily in houses - as they have for thousands of years! - and have traveled around the world with humans. These spiders require a constant climate, though they can do without much food or water.

` However, even if you do live in a particularly venomous spider's range, I wouldn't worry too much - they wouldn't exactly chase you across the room to bite you, would they?
` In fact, hobo spiders are sometimes called 'Aggressive House Spiders', though this is literally out of an ignorant interpretation of its scientific name: Tegenaria agrestis. The word 'agrestis' means 'rural', not 'aggressive'! style="color: rgb(204, 255, 255); font-family: georgia;">

` In fact, they are not even house spiders, either! The whole name is meaningless! While most spiders you find in houses have already set up residence there, the hobo spider (usually the male) is, strangely, known to wander indoors, though it cannot survive there.
` Since it is more commonly seen near places such as railroad tracks, the official name, 'hobo spider' is more appropriate, anyway.
` Female black widows, too, are said to be aggressive, but only towards their mates. (You know, eating them and all.) However, for
all but one species of widow, this has never been observed in the wild!

` Really, there are no 'aggressive' spiders, period. In fact, not every person on earth will ever get bitten by a spider, though if you do, rest assured, it is not very likely to happen again. Unless of course, you're an expert and handle thousands and thousands of spiders.
` Then, you may get bitten two or three times.
` However, in you work in a place like a greenhouse for decades, you could get bitten more than that many times if they regularly rappel on top of you from shelves above your head... the upside, however, is that you won't need pesticide!
` The fact is, for anyone who
is bitten, you must keep in mind that there is no way to tell what spider bit you unless you kill it and sent it to an arachnologist. Entomologists (insect specialists), doctors, and exterminators are not people you can count on to guess correctly at what bit you, because they are not required to know much about spiders!
` A case comes to mind where an entomologist 'discovered' a 'highly venomous and endangered' species of spider in Britain - it was all over the news! As soon as arachnologists saw the photos they'd published, they realized it was merely a common (and harmless) European cave spider. Truth is, if spiders aren't your area, there are too many of them to know by heart.
` But whatever you do, sending a spider to an arachnologist is essential - and if it's in a rigid container, this will prevent it from arriving in a fine powder.
` A strange thing of note; one way some doctors treat patients who are bitten by recluse or hobo spiders - diagnosed correctly! - is antibiotics! Spider venom, of course, can itself dissolve tissue and whatnot, but it is not a disease, and so antibiotics are pointless at this point! In fact, infection of a spider bite is very unlikely.
` So keep in mind, doctors
are not spider experts, and so you cannot always trust their judgement on this subject! (Unless they've studied to become an arachnologist, which is highly unlikely.)
` Newspaper articles about horrible 'spider bite' cases are often false and/or blown out of proportion; for example, the one where a doctor thought that a Skagit County (Washington) man lost his legs to a brown recluse! Upon hearing that the species doesn't live around here, the doctor said it was a hobo spider, even though the species could not have been in the area at the time (according to arachnologists).
` Whatever amputations have been blamed on spiders are purely sensational - such ignorant diagnoses are often later discovered to be something else, such as gangrene!

` Spider venom in itself cannot cause arms and legs to be lost - really, venom is for killing small prey animals - it is literally meant to be insecticide! Therefore, most spider venoms work on insects, though, being a venom, it only works when it's injected. (Eating a spider cannot kill you unless you have some kind of wacky allergy to something in spiders.)
` The prety needs to be dead - or a least subdued - so that the spider can eat it! That's the whole reason behind venom!
` In fact, the way some spiders eat - if they don't have very strong jaws - is to later inject digestive fluid into their prey until their organs and muscles disintegrate into soup. Then they suck them out through a small opening, leaving the exoskeleton.
` Some people who ought to know better will say that spiders only drink the fluids out of prey animals instead of dissolving the solids first. Now, really!
` Orb-weaving spiders do things a bit differently: They kill the prey and vomit digestive fluid on top, and then chew on them, and generally just throw away anything that is too hard to be digested. Many other spiders will eat the prey's entire body - though perhaps leaving legs and wings behind.
` My Katie-cat used to do that... then we'd sit and watch what was left twitch for quite a while.

` Though venom is crafted by nature for killing small animals via injection, it in itself will not cause diseases. Even so, only about 25 species of spiders
worldwide are known to have 'medically significant' venom to humans - though a handful of other species can cause a stinging sensation. Other spiders' bites are not very remarkable.
` Considering that there are over 50,000 species of them on the planet, this goes to show you that most spiders will not cause injury, or even pain, unless someone who gets bitten has a severe allergy.
` If there are any 'medically significant' spiders in your area at all, there could not be more than three of these out of hundreds of local species to worry about. Chances are, you'll never meet one!

` When you do meet a spider, it may likely be late summer in your home. However, late summer is not the time of year when 'all the spiders are out', since most are having a tough time because the weather causes them to become dehydrated.
` In fact, late summer is 'mating season' for many house spiders, so a lot of those you may see wandering around are males looking for a mate. As these spiders generally cannot survive outdoors, it is best not to put them outside, as this may actually kill them!
` Where I live, in fact, there are far more spiders running around in the winter than in the summer, being that we don't have much in the way of actual coldness.
` Sometimes, people notice that there are a lot of spiders in their houses. Of course, this is not caused by an infestation. Spiders, after all, are not pests. They find it difficult to find prey in a human dwelling, which is why they serve as, rather, pest control.
` In fact, what may be happening is that you have an insect problem!
`
Even if, for some imaginary reason, your house is suddenly full of spiders that for some reason you feel the need to kill, pesticides are not something that would work (and a truly informed exterminator can tell you that).
` Only spiders which touch a pesticide would be killed, though the eggs would not be. Believe it or not, but small sticky traps will work much better. (And no, the odors of osage oranges and horse chestnuts do not repel - and probably cannot be detected by - spiders.)

` However, I should hope that after seeing such information about spiders, that you would not kill them. After all, how many spiders ever kill people? Worldwide? It barely happens!! The best thing to do is not interefere with them.

` Of course, where the Sam Hill did I get all this from? I didn't pull it out of any bodily orifices, if that's what you're thinking. Most of it came from the website of the Burke Museum, by the curator of arachnids, Rod Crawford. There's much more there, of course, including a resource page that links to other helpful sites to explore, if you should be so inclined.

` P.S.; I'd further 'edit down' this post, but apparently, all the formatting's made it slow to a crawl. It's not really practical at this point.

7 comments:

S E E Quine said...

` Thanks! You're right, it IS just the kind of thing that would be good to see on T.V., instead of being forced to READ THROUGH to learn anything out of it.
` Alas, I doubt this vision will ever come to pass, because, even though spiders do kind of get high ratings on the Discovery Channel (I think), who wants to hear that all kinds of things they've learned are wrong?
` And who could you trust to make it, I wonder?

S E E Quine said...

` Um... why does it say my comment was the only one all of a sudden?

` Weird.

ChrisWoznitza said...

Head up for your text. How many do you right. Amazing, but the artcel is very good. The pictures too. I wanted to have a spider at home, but my mum was against it, so I have to wait until I´ve a flat, ciao

Galtron said...

I DIDN"T DO IT!!!

cassie d said...

it took my computer a long time to allow me to read and post to your article - but it rawked. i've heard TONS of people claim to have know a "best friend's sister's brother's cousin saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night"....type of brown recluse reports - but i never suspected it was completely bogus. But i guess you're right! if it's recluse, why are so many people getting bitten?! haha!!!

Pretty scary pictures, though! Amazing how the only class i ever got an 'A' in was entomology, and yet i'm extremely enotmophobic! yikes!!!!

cassie d said...

is entomophobic even a word?

S E E Quine said...

` Wow! You read all that? Haha, thanks! I'm not sure if it is a word or not, but there is a web page called the Entomophobic Zone. (Kinda like the Twilight Zone.)