helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
[personal profile] helen99
Vegetarian spider found.

According to this article, "The vegetarian diet of B kiplingi appears to have prompted other changes. Since it no longer needs to go through the energy-sapping business of catching prey, it has diverted its web-spinning abilities to building family homes. Mothers use the nests to rear their young."

This article has a cute picture of the critter, and suggests that the males, instead of being eaten, help care for the eggs and young. Webs are used for building nests and evading the ants that guard the acacia plant beltian bodies that the spiders eat.

Beltian bodies don't grow on acacia plants unless the ants are present, so in effect, the spiders have become farmers - the ants somehow cause the acacias to produce beltian bodies (spider in pic above is holding a beltian body and eating it). The spiders then evade the ants and take beltian bodies. Salticidae are amazing little creatures (and so very weird looking). The other spider I posted about that made all kinds of noise to avoid being eaten was also a salticidae (different kind). Very adaptive and intelligent...

In other spider news, a beautiful golden piece of cloth was spun from spider silk: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/spider-silk/ -- I like the cloth but felt a bit sorry for the spiders who got 'silked'. It takes them weeks to regenerate their silk once that's done. Luckily it's not economical for them to make a practice of it, but the cloth was really pretty.

Why am I posting about spiders? I can't stand them. But these were just so cool.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiarrith.livejournal.com
*ears up*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 01:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmsword.livejournal.com
Strangely enough, the first link and the final one have a strange connection. If they can find out why, and if they can breed/train other spiders the same was as the Vegetarian ones, they could create commercially viable spider silk weaving, akin to the current silk worm industry. The biggest hurdles in commercial spider silk are of course, getting the spiders not to eat one another and feeding them in general.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 01:49 am (UTC)
ext_5300: tree in the stars (Default)
From: [identity profile] helen99.livejournal.com
The golden orb spiders that they used to make the cloth were insectivores and needed their webs to eat. I can't see them surviving the three weeks it would take to regenerate their webs, since they'd be without their means of feeding themselves. Herbivores would definitely have a better chance. The trouble with the Bagheeras is, they only eat the beltian bodies from acacias, which only grow in the presence of certain types of ants. This is kind of limiting, though not insurmountable. Another factor is that the silking process is kind of hideous from the perspective of the arachnid. This may not be as bad as it seems, since spiders tend to go kind of comatose when their lives are threatened, and reports have said that they are uncharacteristically docile during the process. Maybe they anesthetize themselves and slow down their body processes to give themselves a better chance. Case in point, spiders that have been 'drowned' come back to life several hours later.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] silvaerina-tael.livejournal.com
I was going to send you the bottom link regarding the Weird Science article, but seeing as you already have it...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 04:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jolantru.livejournal.com
Vegetarian spider! Yay! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 04:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eaight.livejournal.com
Indeed, why are you posting a bout spider?! :-D

Yesurday, I saw an aquantence I haven't seen in ages wearing a shirt w/ a spider on it. I was wearing my spider necklace. Spiders are a very potent symbol for me. I just got don reading "Liber Null" tonight. In it, Peter Caroll (sp?) sais that when a practictioner advances, such coincindences are no longer seen as such but are rather seen as an actualization of the magician's will and a sign that she is improving. :-D

Indeed, why are you posting about spiders?! I love them!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 11:48 pm (UTC)
ext_5300: tree in the stars (Default)
From: [identity profile] helen99.livejournal.com
These fuzzy little aliens have won me over. I'm beginning to like them at a distance (by 'distance' I mean way out of jumping range - Salticidae can leap large distances).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-15 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eaight.livejournal.com
Perhaps you'll love spiders like I do when I love celery (after I manage to turn an aversion into an attraction).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janeoftrades.livejournal.com
I wonder why they chose to name it so thoroughly after Kipling references.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 11:55 pm (UTC)
ext_5300: tree in the stars (Default)
From: [identity profile] helen99.livejournal.com
You raise an interesting point. In fact, these spiders were not just discovered now, as these articles imply. They were known and named in the late 1800s by George and Elizabeth Peckham, a pair of arachnologists with a a pretty interesting story. They named three similar spiders after characters in the Jungle Book. According to this article, "The genus name is derived from Bagheera, the black panther from Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, with the species name honoring Kipling himself. Other salticid genera with names of Kipling's characters are Akela, Messua and Nagaina. All four were named by George and Elizabeth Peckham in 1896."

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 05:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] keyake.livejournal.com
That's awesome! Thanks for sharing. eeeee

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-15 01:39 am (UTC)
ext_5300: tree in the stars (Default)
From: [identity profile] helen99.livejournal.com
I found out about it was through [livejournal.com profile] wtf_nature. They sometimes post strange and wonderful things...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elven-ranger.livejournal.com
awwwww.. :D

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 11:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dogemperor.livejournal.com
Awwww :3

*has a general soft spot for Salticidae in general--they're essentially little Tachikoma spiders :D. Srsly, look :D

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-14 02:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] animelily.livejournal.com
YES! Tachikoma!

I have a big soft spot for spiders. I remember staring at the spiders building webs in my backyard for like hours as a kid.

They are overall fascinating. And we still haven't mastered synthesizing their silk. Stronger than steel and more flexible than fabric.

<3 Spiders SO MUCH

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-15 12:00 am (UTC)
ext_5300: tree in the stars (Default)
From: [identity profile] helen99.livejournal.com
They are just like little Tachikoma! The Peckham Society website, named after George and Elizabeth Peckham, who gave the Bagheera its hame, has a lot of information about them. Apparently there's an entire branch of study devoted to them called salticidology.

http://www.peckhamia.com/
http://www.peckhamia.com/salticidologists.html

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