MTPR

spiders

How Spider Webs Can Detect Air Pollution

Jun 2, 2019
Studies are analyzing the chemicals and pollutants caught in spider webs to determine the health of certain environments.
Flickr user PermaCultured [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

Classic spiral spider webs are made by orb-weaving spiders which weave them deadly traps for flying insects. But orb spider webs are also electrostatically charged, making them perfect for capturing not only prey but pollen and other small pollutants, indicators of an environment's health.

Bug Bytes: Spider Silk

Feb 5, 2019
Orb weaver spider.
Missoula Insectarium

Thanks to the children’s novel Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, most of us are familiar with the circular shape of an orb weaver spider web. Charlotte certainly had no trouble creating a new web overnight, but it might be more complicated than you think.

Why Spiders Appear To Bungee-Jump From The Sky

Sep 3, 2016
Flickr user, Hunter Desportes (CC-BY-2.0)

It felt like the perfect spot to see some wildlife. So I plopped down in the sun-soaked grasses among the widely scattered ponderosa pines and waited. I was squinting, or possibly had my eyes closed, and when my vision came back into focus I saw a visitor. One of the most creative, silent and lethal predators of the natural world was directly in front of me.

Unravel The Silky Mysteries Of Spiderweb 'Stabilimenta'

Nov 18, 2015
Unidentified orb-weaver spider in its web.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-NC-2)

I hardly would have noticed her among the dry grasses if it were not for an unusual structure incorporated into her web: a thick white zig-zag of silk descending from the center which drew my attention before I noticed the spider waiting in the middle. What was this silken aberration? Wouldn’t it make the otherwise cryptic web more conspicuous to spider-seeking predators or web-avoiding insects? Why would a spider take such risks?

Black widow spider
Courtesy Glenn Marangelo/Missoula Insectarium

Glenn Marangelo from the Missoula Insectarium will be on "Pea Green Boat" today at 4:00 p.m. with some creepy crawly guests, including a black widow spider.

Tune in on your radio or online to hear more about the fascinating spiders and insects show in the pictures above.