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Spiders Camp Out In Mazda Fuel Tanks And Daddy Long Legs Once Had Extra Eyes

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yellow sac spider

yellow sac spider

Even though I’m terrified of spiders, I still enjoy writing about them. Maybe I think that if I follow arachnid news closely enough, they won’t be able to pull one over on me, and I’ll know what to look out for. I can also breathe a sigh of relief when I learn that certain, dinner-plate-sized spiders don’t live anywhere near me, or anywhere I’m planning to visit anytime soon. And right now, I’m thanking my lucky stars that I don’t own a Mazda6.

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A Spider The Size Of A Dinner Plate

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tarantula-as-big-as-your-face-660x433

Did you sleep well last night? Good, we hope you enjoyed that, because after being introduced to this newly discovered species of spider, that may very well be a thing of the past. Meet Poecilotheria rajaei, a tarantula native to the Sri Lanka, one that happens to have a leg span of eight inches (20 centimeters) or more. He resembles an Alien facehugger more than your garden-variety arachnid, and definitely has the size to latch onto your face if necessary.

Poecilotheria rajaei is so big that it even gave pause to the people who discovered him, people who have made it their mission in life to study things that creep and crawl. According to Ranil Nanayakkar, who co-founded the Biodiversity Education and Research in SR, “It was slightly smaller than the size of the plate we have dinner on.” That is one big-ass spider. As if the size isn’t off-putting enough, the tarantula is also highly venomous. Its poison can take down mice, lizards, snakes, and small birds.

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Robot Roaches Inspire Robots Of My Nightmares

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Let me get this out of the way right up top. Bugs don’t scare me. As in, “I may shriek if one lands on me, but I’m chasing after it to the death.” On the other hand, bugs freak me out, because they look like that, all buggy and not according to human anatomy and all.

Which brings me to the VelociRoACH, the University of California, Berkeley’s 10-cm-long millirobot, which mimics the rapid leg motions of a real cockroach in order to attain speeds that make it, when adjusted for size, one of the fastest robots in the world. It weighs 30 grams and has legs that hit the ground about 15 times a second, during which time it has already traveled 2.7 meters.

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Decoy-Building Unidentified Spider Species Discovered

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spider2

While I don’t have a fear of spiders or anything — and don’t you try and test that non-fear — but I do have a distrust and dislike for them. Mostly because I’m not fond of anything that could possibly fall from the ceiling into my mouth while I sleep. But that’s all right, because I understand their worth in nature; I can’t just disrupt the ecosystem because I don’t want to go from a sleeping nightmare into a waking one. But now researchers have discovered a spider in Peru that threatens to taint my dreams forevermore. Well, not really. But maybe.

In a recent blog post written for Rainforest Expeditions, biologist Phil Torres recorded his findings of around 25 spiders in a floodplain area around the Tambopata Research Center. The spider itself is quite possibly a member of the genus Cyclosa, part of a species that has never been seen before. One more species among the other 38,000 or so isn’t all that bad. Except these build decoys of themselves around five times bigger than their body sizes. (faint)

Okay, so the actual decoy isn’t that scary in and of itself. The spiders in question are only around 5 mm long, which puts the decoys at only an inch in length. So it’s not the size of the decoy, but the motion of the web shaking. Because yes, after the spider builds its relatively gigantic clone out of leaves, debris, and its dead insect prey, the spider itself hides just above its gangly doppelgänger and shakes the web, making the faux-rachnid appear as if it’s in motion. The Cyclosa genus is known for its mold-building distractions, but this is the only case of dropping legs and movement. Of course, not everyone is a prodigy. “Some of the decoys placed in the webs looked rather realistic. Others resembled something more like a cartoon octopus,” says Torres.