Arachnews: January 6, 2020

In 2020, we’re switching to weekly—because there’s just too much art, writing, news, and scientific research for a measly monthly digest. In this edition:

  • funny & educational Twitter threads
  • tattoos!
  • social spider evolution
  • how mites and spiders cope with heat
  • new recluse spider in Mexico
  • new South African widow spider (with purple silk)!
  • a glossary of the jargon I used in the article

and more! Read it on Medium.

The Year In Spiders: 2019

At the end of 2018, I was burnt out on politics, and I decided to instead write about something I genuinely loved and could change people’s minds about: spiders. I started writing up the various bits of arachnid-related things I come across, calling it “Arachnews”.

Still from "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse", showing an awed Miles Morales ("me") copying Peter B. Parker ("actual arachnologists").
My very first Arachnews post.

In April, Sebastian Alejandro Echeverri asked Spider Twitter who might be interested in a group blog, to provide better coverage of arachnids than the usual “creepy-crawly” stuff you see in the news. I jumped aboard, and we switched from my “random bookmarks of things people send me” system to a spreadsheet of Google Scholar alerts. I had no idea how much stuff was out there, guise. It’s a whole new world. Yes, like the song, but, like, with more spiders.

Aladdin & Jasmine on flying carpet superimposed over video of C. lividum spiderlings and mother
🎶️ A whole new world 🎶️ (video by chrisweeet)

Here are my 2019 highlights—not just personal favourites, but stuff you’ll see popping up again in years to come. Continue reading The Year In Spiders: 2019

Arachnews: November 2019

In this month’s Arachnews:

  • the usual stunning photos of divers arachnids
  • lots of research on ecology, pest control of mites (often with mites), venom, and tick-borne disease
  • spiders in the age of the dinosaurs
  • intriguing endosymbiont discoveries
  • rhino ticks! elephant ticks!
  • a bunch of Brachypelma tarantulas have been moved to a new genus, Tliltocatl
  • some very cool new finds, like new liphistiid species and ancient troglobitic harvies

Check it out over at Arachnofiles on Medium.

Arachnews: October 2019

Whoops, forgot to post this after it came out! Anyway, the October edition of Arachnews has lots of stuff:

  • award-winning spider portraits
  • cute mite faces
  • #Arachtober art
  • how to extract spider venom
  • jumping spiders on caffeine
  • EXTREME! 🛹 sexual size dimorphism

Do go check it out, clap, etc.

Arachnews: September 2019

My regular roundup of arachnid-related art, news, and science is up at Arachnofiles! In this month’s Arachnews:

  • new ZeFrank!
  • quality photos, memes, and merch
  • educational articles about spider silk, Spider Season, and more
  • arachnid relationships with parasitic wasps, ants, and fungus
  • new Portia personality paper
  • new trade protections—and expanded range—for Poecilotheria, the popular tarantula genus also known as “pokies”

And lots more! Go, read, “clap”, etc.

Arachnews: August 2019

This past month was very busy, as I have been making up for all the work I missed recovering from surgery. So this Arachnews is rather late. But, tons of great stuff! In this month’s edition: rainbow-faced spiders, the results of the Great Black Widow Race, the goods on that “climate change making spiders more aggressive” story, a scorpion-inspired pressure sensor, a new Portia paper, and more.

I’ve also changed the formatting up a bit. Links to the original papers are now posted at the end of each item, accompanied by Sci-Hub links unless they’re open access (marked with a 🔓️).

Introducing Arachnofiles

So I’ve joined a new group blog, Arachnofiles! We’re a bunch of spider fans (both arachnologists and amateurs) who are hoping to create some quality stories that go beyond the dreary “creepy-crawly, ugh” angle you see in mainstream media coverage and shed light on current research. You can find the latest Arachnews posts there. And there’s a lot more content, because now we’ve got a group spreadsheet for adding links, and it’s not just one lonely, non-scientist person’s Firefox bookmarks.

I’ll still post updates here when a new post goes up, but if you use Medium, you can also follow Arachnofiles and, uh, engage there. And if you come across any neat spider-related stuff, please send it my way!

Arachnews: April 2019

Featured image: the newly described jumping spider Uroballus carlei resembles a caterpillar. Credit: Stefan Obenauer, iNaturalist.

There’s satire, cake, molecular phylogeny, and more in this round-up of all things arachnid. This month is very jumping spider-heavy—but can you blame me?!

Continue reading Arachnews: April 2019