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

Nightmare Rectangle Round-up: Municipal Finance, Black Widows, Migrants, and More

Header: This image from Lisa Jackson’s Biidaaban depicts a decaying Toronto City Hall surrounded by forest, on the edge of a flooded Nathan Phillips Square.

Trying a bit of a new thing. I occasionally do linkdumps via Twitter threads, but I felt like doing something more permanent. Title inspired by this ever-relevant @TechnicallyRon tweet:

Continue reading Nightmare Rectangle Round-up: Municipal Finance, Black Widows, Migrants, and More

Pardosa update

So I went back to the meadow where I found all those wolf spiders in the hopes of finding a few Pardosa in various stages of motherhood. Enjoy!

Jumping Spiders I Have Known

Most wild animals are either indifferent or fearful towards humans, preferring to run away when they realize a human has noticed them — or attack when they cannot escape. Spiders are no different in this regard. Many of them are too short-sighted, or live on too small a scale, to recognize humans as other animals and not, say, unusually mobile parts of the landscape. If they do, they deduce that we are neither food nor fellow spiders (for spiders, generally antisocial creatures, these overlap considerably), and they try to get out of our way.

All this means that watching spiders is generally a one-sided relationship. Jumping spiders (family Salticidae1) are an exception — spiders that watch back. Continue reading Jumping Spiders I Have Known

7 Things To Name-Drop In Your “Laudato Si” Thinkpiece

Pope Francis’ much-hyped encyclical drops today. Are you prepared to sound smart? Here, in no particular order, are 7 references that will convince your readers you didn’t find out what an “encyclical” was yesterday. THANK ME LATER, PUNDITS. Continue reading 7 Things To Name-Drop In Your “Laudato Si” Thinkpiece

Spiderblogging: Love Hurts

This may be my last spider post of the year. Spiders’ lives are short here, and for the past few months they have had one obsession: to mate and reproduce before they die in the winter cold. Males go wandering in search of females, often getting lost and ending up in people’s houses. Females make as many egg sacs as they can, which they will guard until they die. If the eggs last the winter, they will hatch in the spring. Continue reading Spiderblogging: Love Hurts