Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Should Give You The Creeps...!

Just to keep you from getting bored today, I thought I would give you something to creep you out on this Thursday!

I do this just because I'm such a nice guy! Besides, I don't often get the chance to freak everyone out like this! Man's gotta have a little fun once in a while!

You know I wouldn't do this if I didn't love ya, right?

Tarantulas Shoot Silk From Feet, Spider-Man Style
To keep balance, spiders spin silk using foot "spigots."

Rachel Kaufman
for National Geographic News
Published May 16, 2011

Tarantulas shoot silk from "spigots" in their feet to climb slippery surfaces, a new study says.

Keeping balance is crucial for the delicate arachnids, which would likely die in a fall. So tarantulas often use silk much like Spider-Man does when wall-crawling—to stick to surfaces and stay firmly attached, even when the ground is shaky, the research confirmed.

Tarantulas don't spin typical spider webs, but often use their silk to line or protect their burrows.

The silk-slinging theory was first put forth in 2006, but scientists have been divided on whether tarantulas shoot silk from their feet, or if they grab silk from their spinnerets—silk-producing organs—and use that as a glue.

To resolve that question, the University of Newcastle's Claire Rind and undergraduate student Luke Birkett put tarantulas into a clean, dry fish tank lined with microscope slides. While filming with a video camera, the team tipped the tank on its side so that the spiders either stayed put or slipped just a bit.

Watching the footage in slow motion revealed that only the spiders' feet had touched the glass, and that the spiders slipped only slightly.

They also examined the slides to look for any evidence of silk secretions, Rind said. "On the slides where the foot was found, we found 20 or 30 silken threads in the footprint."

Spiky Silk Spigots Observed for First Time

Rind also studied tarantula feet under an electron microscope and found tiny silk-producing spigots intermingled with the hairs on the spiders' feet.

Each fuzzy hair looked like a "loo brush," said Rind, while every spigot resembled a "small spike."

Rind saw silk threads still coming out of the spigots—contradicting previous studies that had found that the spikes are sensory structures.

She observed three different species of tarantula under the microscope: the Chilean rose, the Indian ornamental, and the Mexican flame-knee tarantula.

These species are "about as far away as you could get from another on the tarantula tree," so it's likely that all tarantula species possess this silk-slinging ability, Rind said.

The Mexican flame-knee tarantula was studied via its molted exoskeleton, which incidentally came from Rind's pet tarantula, Fluffy, who had died before she could participate in the experiments.

But that's OK by Rind: "She was not the best-behaved lady ... a bit aggressive."

The tarantula-silk study will appear June 1 in the journal Journal of Experimental Biology.

Just makes you want to shake out your boots before you put them on, right? If I were to see one of these bad boys in my room, I might squeal just like a hog backing into barbed wire!

Let's get some fresh coffee and sit on the patio this morning! BTW, it's OK if you want to keep your feet up, just in case!


SciFiChick said...

I'd be shaking out more than just my boots if I run across one of those!!

HermitJim said...

Hey Sci...
Might have to change my drawers once or twice if I found one close!

I used to see them on the road all the time in west Texas, but haven't seen one in a while!

Many thanks for coming by today!

Ben in Texas said...

Jim!! You GOT to start putting warning labels on some of these post!! Some people suffer from Arachnophobia badly! Me, no, I just carry a big stick when I got out around my barn area. :-)

Sixbears said...

One of jobs as a husband is to kill the rather large wolf spiders we get in the house. My wife can deal with the tiny ones. When they get to 2-4 inches, it becomes my job.

The deal is, spiders outside are left alone. Inside, they are squished. Not every spider got the memo.

I think it's kinda cool they are still discovering some very basic stuff about critters.

Selous Scout said...

Cuddly looking fellow eh?

JoJo said...

I think they are quite beautiful. Living out in the desert you get to see lots of these critters. I have had them in the house and just try and catch them and send them out the door where they belong. They eat lots of other things you really would not want around. Of course I don't want to hold one, jars or boxes worked well. :)
Check out my blog Jim.
Coffee at your place is more inviting this morning.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
I pretty much leave them alone if I can! Trouble is, here lately I am over run with these tiny little guys that are always building webs running down from the ceiling!

I really don't like spiders, but when they start dropping into my coffee I mash them! I don't play well with some of natures critters!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Sounds like a fair arrangement to me! Outside is good, inside is NOT!

Let's hope that the size stays small enough to not resort to using a bat!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Scout...
Not exactly what I would want to find in my bed, that's for sure!

I don't get too jumpy about most things, but this guy would do it!

Thanks, Scout, for coming over this morning!

HermitJim said...

Hey JoJo...
I certainly can understand you not wanting to pick it up barehanded!

The guys like this one are pretty partial to the desert area, I think!

You have a great day, sweetie...and thanks for dropping in this morning!

TROUBLEnTX said...

Used to catch tarantulas and take them home, turn them loose in my breeze way. Also keep those fly catchers (black jumping spiders) around, even in the house. they catch lots of things, in their webs. And,,i love those, what we called, ladder spiders. Have 3 bags of eggs hanging on side of my house right now. lolol,,,Whats wrong with u people,,hahahaha...

HermitJim said...

Hey Trouble...
It must be fun to visit at your house!

I made a deal with the spiders around here! They leave me alone, I'll leave them alone!

Many thanks for coming by today! said...

I used to get tarantulas in my gazebo w/the hot tub and on my patio all the time in G'twn. My big 6'71/2" husband always siad "Get it, Honey". Interesting read!
Love you.

Wolfdancer32266 said...

Shiver me timbers!

Marjie said...

Ewww! I despise spiders.

Dizzy-Dick said...

My kids used to put Tarantulas on the screen on the kitchen window over the sink to scare the be-jeebers out of my wife.

SciFiChick said...

Dizzy, you still have kids that lived after that??? LMAO

Mexican Flame Knee Tarantula said...

My brother owned a Mexican Flame Knee Tarantula, still a sling and hope to see them as big as plates.