Spiders — 2019 News and Scientific Articles on Live Science



Learn more about these fascinating arthropods as scientists continue to make amazing discoveries about spiders.

Related Topics: Insects, Parasites

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‘Starry Night’ replica found on peacock spider’s butt

By Brandon Specktor

Seven new species of peacock spider have been discovered in Australia, one of which was named for Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Newly discovered neon-green spider named after the ‘Lady Gaga of mathematics’

By Laura Geggel

Given their coloring, the members of this spider’s family are known as green cucumber spiders.

Spider Architect’s Intricate ‘Silkhenge’ Revealed in Stunning Video

By Mindy Weisberger

High-resolution video of tiny, bizarre silk structures found across the Amazon known as a silkhenge show the mysterious spider construction as never before.

You’re Not Seeing Things, These Spider Butts Look Like Faces

By Kimberly Hickok

The flashy abdomens of male peacock spiders may serve a very important purpose.

A Man Caught a Spider Eating His Pet Goldfish and, Well, It’s Terrifying

By Brandon Specktor

A man caught a spider eating his goldfish in midair. This is creepily common among semiaquatic spiders, which live across the globe.

A Man Heard ‘Scratching’ Noises in His Ear. It Was a Spider.

By Rachael Rettner

A man who felt a tickling and scratching sensation in his ear soon discovered something horrifying: A spider had crawled into his ear.

Venomous Brown Recluse Spider Crawls into Woman’s Ear

By Isobel Whitcomb

Susie Torres didn’t expect that the strange ‘swishing noise’ she was hearing would turn out to have eight legs.

Thousands of Tarantulas Are About to Set Off on Their Annual Migration in Colorado

By Mindy Weisberger

In southeastern Colorado, male Oklahoma brown tarantulas will soon begin their annual migration to reach the prairies where female spiders live.

Skywatching Spider Photobombs Perseid Meteor Shower

By Meghan Bartels

How do you spot a «shooting star»? Well, you don’t look for eight legs; that’s for sure.

Why These Strange, Reclusive Arachnids Fled Underground in Evolutionary Waves

By Rafi Letzter

When Australia got too hot and dry, which killed off forests, these woodland creatures decided to live underground.

Huntsman Spider Devours Possum in Viral (and Terrifying) Photos

By Mindy Weisberger

For this arachnid, mammals are on the menu.

This Crafty Spider Doesn’t Have Venom. But It Does Have a ‘Slingshot’

By Laura Geggel

Does the idea of a spider using its web to catapult itself at high speeds give you the willies? Then be forewarned: the triangle weaver spider (Hyptiotes cavatus) does just that.

Spider Spins Web in Man’s Ear (Cue the Nightmares)

By Mindy Weisberger

An itchy feeling had an eight-legged source.

Space Orbiter Spots ‘Hairy Blue Spider’ on Mars

By Mindy Weisberger

Bowie was right; there really is a «spider» from Mars.

Little Short for a Stormtrooper? Newfound Spiders Named for ‘Star Wars’ Villains

By Mindy Weisberger

Like the white-armored and -helmeted Stormtroopers from «Star Wars,» these spiders are tough to tell apart.

Tropical Spiders Cause ‘Surprising Amount of Death,’ Hunting Opossums, Frogs and More

By Mindy Weisberger

In the Amazon lowlands, spiders as big as dinner plates dine on opossums.

21 Totally Sweet Spider Superlatives

By Stephanie Pappas

What’s the largest spider? The fastest? The weirdest? This list has all of your arachnid records covered.

‘Unicorn’ Tarantula Wears a Weird Horn on Its Back

By Mindy Weisberger

A new species of tarantula has something in common with the mythical unicorn — a prominent «horn.»

These Ancient Spider Fossils Still Have Silvery, Shimmering Eyes

By Rafi Letzter

Paleontologists working in South Korea found ancient spider fossils with mirrors in their eyes.

An Australian Man Screamed So Loud at a Spider That the Cops Showed Up

By Brandon Specktor

Sometimes spiders scare people so much that the cops have to deal with it.

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Top 20 signs of facing a spider.

Spiders and signs about them for centuries have been associated with money and wealth, with home and life, with family relationships. Popular signs, omens and superstitions about spiders appeared on the basis of constant observations of the behavior of these eight-legged creatures and the determination of the relationship between the appearance of spiders in the house and further events in people’s lives.

Our ancestors believed that spiders connected the world of the living with the other world. And, apparently, that’s why many people are afraid of these arthropods on a subconscious level. However, if you see a spider, in most cases this is considered a good omen, and therefore you should not be scared when you meet a spider.

Spider in the house.

Is it a good or bad sign to see a spider in the house? Many people are afraid of them and try to get rid of them as soon as possible, and some even kill them. However, this is absolutely not worth doing. Spiders in the house are an omen that has good meaning.

In fact, the appearance of such a «friend» in the apartment can carry its own meaning, which must be deciphered. As a rule, the first thing you should pay attention to is where it creeps. If it crawls up — then it is a symbol predicting something good and profit; a spider going down — predicts problems and failures.

In addition, attention is paid to the time when you were able to see the spider: early in the morning – you will receive not the best news, in the day time or evening – a symbol of luck. To see a spider in the evening — hope, long-term prospects.

To see a spider crawling down the wall at night — to trouble, gossip, intrigue at work.

If the insect crawls up the web or along a thin thread, then good news awaits you. If it is creeping down, then you should be quite prudent in making decisions, so as not to be mistaken.

The most famous sign that arose many years ago says that the appearance of a spider in a house or apartment is symbol promising money. This applies to literally all family members, and can be a winning in the lottery, salary increase, cash reward in the form of a bonus at work or a prize in a competition.

Since negative energy always accumulates in the corners of the apartment, spiders, like real «guards», weave a web there that captures this negativity, protecting the house and people from troubles. That is why spiders have been considered the guardians of the hearth for a long time.

But when you see a spider sitting motionless on a web, you can make a wish and see where it crawls. A wish will soon be fulfilled if the insect crawls up.

If the spider is crawling on your money, this suggests that you will have unexpected cash receipts.

The spider descended on your head: if it is black and quite large, this means the news will be important for the whole family.

If the spider runs on the floor, this sign promises change, movement in the right direction. If his direction is towards you, then the changes will affect you, if it passes by, the changes will be related to someone else from the family.

Many spiders or cobwebs above the bed promise love adventures, new acquaintances. And for a couple, this may be a sign that something needs to be changed so that satisfaction with each other does not pass. In the case when a dark spider hangs over the spouses’ bed, this means you need to be wary of cooling relations between husband and wife, or treason.

To find a spider in bed is a sign of receiving news.

A spider sits on the ceiling — an omen for all sorts of benefits.

If a spider suddenly fell on the table — a sign warns of enemies. The larger and more unpleasant in appearance the spider is, the stronger the enemies.

The spider sitting on the door of the house — arrival of guests soon. If the door jamb is in a web, this means the visit will be delayed. The light color of the spider indicates pleasant guests, and the dark color indicates unwanted guests.

A spider in the kitchen is a sign of family disorder. It can be a petty quarrel, a major conflict, or even a divorce (if a lot of cobwebs constantly appear in the kitchen at the same time).

A spider in the bathroom warns of imminent changes in the financial sector. If the eight-legged creature is close to the water, this omen predicts the impending financial difficulties. If the spider in the bathroom sits far from the water, this suggests that you will soon have to solve financial issues and problems that arose not your fault.

A spider sitting in a sink, in a bath or in water, symbolizes vanity, a lot of effort and a meager result.

To see a spider in the toilet is a bad omen warning that finances run the risk of «leaking away like water.» It may also mean stagnation in business or relationships.

The spider on the mirror is a sign of unexpected news.

If the spider appeared in the children’s room, it means that the child has a personal defender.

A spider in the hallway or living room is a good omen that a pleasant event will happen soon.

If the spider is sitting on the window – symbol of money or news.

Finding unexpectedly a spider in the refrigerator, in food, in a plate or cup – means that your well-being will be improved.

It is worth remembering one thing — it is absolutely forbidden to kill spiders! They can be killed only if they (one or many) weave a web on the icons. These actions will portend absolution of forty sins and a good course of affairs. But this is the only case when you can kill the «guests». In any other cases, the sign says that nothing good will come of such actions. In addition, a person can bring misfortunes on himself, and also, quite possibly, on his family.

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Traditional omens about spiders.

To see a spider (one or many) in the wild is a sign of good news.

If a person gets into cobweb, this story suggests troubles.

Our ancestors often predicted the weather for the future. If the spider huddled somewhere in the corner, then there will be a windy day; if a large number of spider webs appears in the room — the dry time is coming.

A spider sits in the center of the web – there will be clear and sunny weather.

A web without a spider is a sign of rain.

The color of spiders also plays a role in interpreting their appearance. So, black and red spiders traditionally bring grief, but white spiders increase your luck.

To see a spider in the corner – predicts receiving a letter. If there is also a cobweb at the same time, this indicates that the news is delayed.

To see a spider on the doorstep of an apartment — to the return of someone, or the appearance of an old friend.

If a spider descended from the ceiling on a web and was right in front of your face, this promises a pleasant meeting in the near future, or the arrival of dear guests.

Omens about spiders at work.

If the meeting with the spider occurred at the workplace or in the office, then the sign will relate exclusively to the business sphere.

Spider crawls nearby — you can wait for a letter to come or a business meeting to take place.

It gets up the wall — you can count on cash incentives. If the office spider descends down the wall, then you should expect discontent and even reprimand from the bosses, which can lead to the loss of a bonus or a fine.

If a spider in the office went down to the floor and immediately ran away, a delay in wages is possible.

When the spider unexpectedly fell on your desk, it is a sign of the appearance of enemies or envious people who will try to put you in an unfavorable position.

Signs about spiders in a car.

If a spider crawls in a car, this is a sign of money that will either appear or, on the contrary, leave. Here superstition is interpreted, depending on the direction in which the spider moves. If it creeps towards you, you can wait for profit. If the movement of the spider is directed in the opposite direction, one should prepare for cash expenses.

If a spider climbed onto a person in the car, then the profit is guaranteed.

Finding a web in a car is a very good sign. In this case, we can assume that the spider took the car, the driver, and passengers under its protection.

Spider on your body – omens meaning.

If the spider fell on your hand, it is a sign of imminent changes in life. If this event happened with the right hand, then you can expect profit or increase. The spider, which was on your left hand, promises minor financial losses.

The spider that fell on your face is a popular sign promising happiness in personal life.

If a spider fell or went down the web on ones head, this portends an unexpected inheritance or other sudden money that will fall «like snow on your head.»

A spider tangled in your hair – you will find real love.

If you see a spider on shoes, on a leg, on a knee, — this is a promise of coming journey.

In general, according to popular beliefs, it is believed that spiders on the body portend a good fate to a person. But in order for the sign to come true, one cannot kill such a “guest”. In an extreme case, the spider should be carefully removed, but it’s better to wait and let it retire on its own.

Cobweb signs.

Meeting with spiders may well occur on the street. Getting into the big web is a bad sign. According to popular beliefs, this bodes many minor troubles.

At the same time, if you slightly touch the web — this is a good omen. There will be a meeting with an old friend soon.

If a cobweb clings to the clothes imperceptibly, and it is found only at home, it is a sign of wealth. The same applies to the spider that climbed onto the clothes on the street.


Spidey sense: Eight-legged pollution monitors

Arachnids reveal chemical threats to food web

Spiders living along riverbanks, such as this long-jawed spider, can act as sentinels for toxic pollution. The eight-legged creatures can reveal the types, locations, amounts and even sources of chemicals polluting many rivers.

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December 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

VANCOUVER — A magnifying glass can help detectives spy for clues. For environmental sleuths tracking water pollution, spiders living along riverbanks might work just about as well.

As spiders eat, their bodies will accumulate some of the chemicals polluting the environment. By measuring what taints their bodies, scientists can discover the types, locations, concentrations — and even potential risks — of water pollutants. Spiders may even give better results than the direct testing of a polluted river, researchers say. The experts reported their findings on November 11, here, at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

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The chemicals in the study are called polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. These chemicals are fairly harmless to insects and spiders. In people, PCBs can cause serious problems. The chemicals can interfere with our immune, reproductive and nervous systems. The United States banned PCBs in 1979. Before then, the chemicals were widely used in plastics, inks and electrical equipment.

PCBs remain a serious pollution problem. The compounds persist in the muck along the bottoms of many U.S. rivers, lakes and other waterways. It is hard to predict the threat that PCBs pose to animals and people based on sediment samples alone.

“That’s the big challenge,” explains Upal Ghosh. He’s an environmental engineer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “If we take the sediment, that doesn’t quite tell what the harm is,” he notes. For instance, PCBs on a river bottom might stay put. However, they might also enter the food chain. Figuring out how much enters organisms that serve as food is pivotal to uncovering the risks that these chemicals pose to wildlife and people.


That is why spiders can be so useful. Midges and other insects can pick up PCBs from river muck during the early stages of their lives, when they spend time in the water. Spiders will later ingest the PCBs as part of their insect meals.

For spiders that dwell along riverbanks, every insect meal can up their accumulation of PCBs. This process is called biomagnification. The PCBs may not hurt the spiders. But anything that feeds on the spiders can, in turn, pick up those chemicals and carry them up the food chain, to birds, amphibians or the predators that eat these animals. But if scientists get to the spiders first, they measure their pollutant loads to learn more about what is tainting a particular river.

And that is exactly what a team of researchers led by David Walters did. Walters is an ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Fort Collins, Colo. Between 2009 and 2013, his team collected almost 10,000 long-jawed and orb-weaving spiders. The eight-legged animals had been living along the Ottawa, Manistique and Ashtabula rivers. All three flow into the Great Lakes.

The team measured the pollutants carried by five to 20 spiders at each section along stretches of the rivers. They selected places known to be polluted with PCBs and other chemicals. For each site, the experts identified the type of PCBs in spiders and the amounts tainting these arachnids. The team also calculated the risk those polluted spiders might pose to nearby predators. Using spiders to unravel that threat, Ghosh says, is intriguing.

PCB levels in the two species of spiders were high enough to pose a risk to other wildlife, including birds, Walters says. These findings may partly explain the decline in some songbird populations, he says. The PCB levels also mirror those seen in some fish, which could pose health risks to people. Signs posted in places along all three rivers recommend people limit or avoid eating certain species of fish living there.

The researchers used the mix of chemicals found in certain spiders to pinpoint pollution sources. For instance, spiders living downstream from a paper-recycling plant on the Manistique River contained the same mix of PCBs used in paper recycling.

Walters hopes that the spider monitoring could help keep tabs on polluted sites. It might also track how well river clean-ups work; these projects can cost millions of dollars. Using spiders as sentinels might even uncover new pollution hot spots.In fact, other researchers across the United States are already starting to do just that.

Power Words

arachnid A group of invertebrate animals that includes spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks. Many have silk or poison glands.

biomagnification The process by which the concentration of a chemical increases as it moves up the food chain. Typically, this occurs when a predator species feeds upon prey contaminated with that chemical.

immune system The collection of cells and their responses that help the body fight off infection.

midges Any of many types of small flies that often live around water. Some are blood-sucking insects; others can derive their energy from eating plants. Frequently mistaken for mosquitoes, midges can transmit disease or move pollutants through an ecosystem.

nervous system The network of nerve cells and fibers that transmits signals between parts of the body.

pollutant A substance that taints something — such as the air, water, our bodies or products. Some pollutants are chemicals, such as pesticides. Others may be radiation, including excess heat or light. Even weeds and other invasive species can be considered a type of biological pollution.

polychlorinated biphenyls A family of 209 chlorine-based compounds with a similar chemical structure. They were used for many decades as a nonflammable fluid for insulating electrical transforms. Some companies also used them in making certain hydraulic fluids, lubricants and inks. Their production has been banned in North America and many countries throughout the world since around 1980.

predator (adjective: predatory) A creature that preys on other animals for most or all of its food.

prey Animal species eaten by others.

sediment Material (such as stones and sand) deposited by water, wind or glaciers.

toxic Poisonous or able to harm or kill cells, tissues or whole organisms. The measure of risk posed by such a poison is its toxicity.


S. Ornes. “Quieter vibes for city spiders.” Science News for Students. March 25, 2015.

J. Raloff. “Home, plastic home.” Science News for Students. July 16, 2013.

E. Sohn. “Seabirds deliver Arctic pollutants.” Science News for Students. July 20, 2005

E. Sohn. “Insect stowaways.” Science News for Students. Dec. 9, 2005.

Original Meeting Source: D. Walters et al. Cross-site comparisons of riparian spider exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at Great Lakes Areas of Concern. Abstract 207, November 11, 2014, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry annual meeting, Vancouver, Canada.


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