I Can Put My Leg Back On You Can’t: How Spiders Regrow Limbs

The reference, for those of you lucky enough not to recognize it.

Recently I found a tiny four-legged running crab spider (family Philodromidae) in Trinity-Bellwoods and brought it home to keep temporarily until it grew its legs back. It was so small that I could keep it in a 45 mL plastic cup with a tiny chip of bark. I fed it sugar syrup on the end of a Q-tip, and then (as it was too small and terrified for the flightless fruit flies I raise for Sabella, my pet black widow) I made it a (disgusting) fruit fly-and-syrup mush to drink. It soon molted and grew back three legs, and was then big enough to catch fruit flies. I think it grew back the last leg its next molt, but perhaps dropped it again when it nearly escaped one night as I tried to feed it—a sign, to me, that it was time to release it. I made sure it ate again, then set it free at the spot in the park that I found it. It immediately caught a small green plant bug and raced off, lightning-fast and good as new.

I chronicled the whole thing on Mastodon, and received many replies from people who had no idea spiders could regrow legs! So here is a proper post about the phenomenon. Continue reading I Can Put My Leg Back On You Can’t: How Spiders Regrow Limbs

The Week at Toronto City Hall #4

Toronto City Council meets next week! On the agenda: Inclusionary Zoning, keeping industrial lands industrial, the winter shelter plan, and your Tree Removal Permit Application of the Month, which sent me down a wild medical and botanical rabbit hole. Plus, meet an ubiquitous but little-known household insect in my Bug Report.

Read the whole thing at City Hall Watcher.

Update: Pinecone Spiders

Summer spidering season is well underway, and I’m no longer turning over pinecones in search of spiders. But I just stumbled across this 2016 blog post by Rod Crawford (of Seattle, WA’s Burke Museum) about Laurel Ramseyer’s research! Since 2008 she’s been sampling fallen pinecones for spiders—apparently a niche unexplored till now. This turned up the first record of the jumping spider Pseudoeuophrys lanigera in North America and has also proved useful for tracking the range of the crab spider Ozyptila praticola.

In 2015, Ramseyer and Crawford wrote a paper summarizing their findings about the pinecone-dwelling spiders of Washington State. A lot of mesh-web weavers (family Dictynidae), ground spiders (Gnaphosidae), sheet-web weavers and dwarf spiders (Linyphiidae), and cobweb spiders (Theridiidae). A lot different from all the running crab spiders (Philodromus) in my lakeside pinecones. They also mention finding a lot of Euryopis, a spider I’ve failed to find at all in my area despite seeing their distinctive tufty egg sacs all the time. Maybe that’s where I should be looking.

Time to do some reading and up my pinecone game…

Arachnews: May 3, 2021

Well, I’m back. Much like a tarantula, I felt the need to seal myself into a burrow for several months on end for no particular reason. This isn’t even close to covering the backlog. But here is a sprinkling of arachnid-related art, news, and science from the last several months, including:

  • VR spiderweb sound art
  • slingshot spiders and harvesters on treadmills
  • new species with nerdy and musical names
  • upcoming arachnology conferences
  • and more…

Read more on Medium.

Arachnews: September 30, 2020

I’M BACK, BITCHES. In the latest roundup of all things spider, scorpion, harvester, mite, and more:

  • arachnologists on livestreams and podcasts
  • retractions and other developments
  • research on venom, silk, agriculture, ecology, and more
  • new species from around the world
  • …and more!

Read it on Medium.

Arachnews: May 31, 2020

We’re back, baby. In the latest roundup of arachnid news, media, and science:

  • arachnological organizations’ statements on #BlackLivesMatter
  • arachnologists on livestreams
  • research on extreme sexual dimorphism, spider collecting techniques, and tailless whipscorpion senses
  • new species from around the world
  • and much more…

Read it on Medium.