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What's spawning gigantic spiders

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

If you live in a big city and somehow weren't a little creeped out by spiders before, you definitely will be now.

According to a new study out of Australia, spiders get bigger and multiply faster when they live in the city. Cue the giant spider nightmares.

Researchers from the University of Sydney found that golden orb weaver spiders like this one living near heavily urbanized areas in Sydney tend to be larger, better fed and have more offspring than their country-dwelling counterparts.

To come to this terrifying conclusion, the study's authors collected 222 female golden orb weavers from different places around Sydney and measured each area's urbanization based on qualities like leaf-litter cover, grass coverage and amount of hard surfaces, such as concrete.

The researchers then measured the spiders' body size, fat reserves and ovary weight to determine their reproductive capacity. And, sure enough, the more urban the area, the bigger, fatter and more potentially fertile the spiders were. Lovely.

One of the study's authors told The Atlantic's CityLab they believe two factors present in most cities are responsible for this so-called superspider trend.

First, the hot microclimates sustained by a paved-over city makes for an ideal environment for spiders to grow and thrive.

And second, thanks to the massive amount of artificial light in cities, they attract an abnormal amount of insects to the area. Translation: the spiders are never without a plentiful food source.

Now, this may seem like bad news all around for city dwellers. But as gross as spiders are, they're actually good to have around.

They eat insects we consider to be annoying pests, like flies and mosquitos, and keep their populations down. And they're also an important food source for other creatures, including frogs and toads. Ah, the circle of life.

While the research in Sydney was confined to just one species of spider, the study's authors say other types of spiders are probably reaping the benefits of city living too. You can check out the entire study in the journal PLOS One.

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f.mudda August 21 2014 at 10:33 AM

Dear Aol, I can read, must you have video's for everything? Stop thinking for us let us read and decide for ourselves. And I'm getting tired of hitting pause all the time, because I don't care what the people in your video's have to say.

Huffington post doesn't load slow enough do you think it could take 10 minutes instead of 5?

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8 replies
mountainlora August 21 2014 at 11:56 AM

They entirely miss what I believe to be MAIN reason for larger spiders in cities than country -- spider PREDATORS. In the country they have to evade far more that would eat them: many more species of birds, snakes, larger insects, lizards and other spiders.

Sometimes I wonder about the "conclusions" these "scientists" come to.

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2 replies
doketx mountainlora August 21 2014 at 3:24 PM

Yeah, you're right. Fewer natural enemies in the cities. Why don't the "scientists" get that?

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sianserais mountainlora August 21 2014 at 8:00 PM

That is very likely true. However, this is not a proper scientific article, nor one written by an actual scientist. It might very well be the reporter who is to blame.

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alfredschrader August 21 2014 at 12:55 PM

Spiders are your friend. They don't eat people, they eat bugs especially mosquitos, roaches, and ants.
You can't sneak up on a spider because they have eyes on their rear ends. Most have six eyes or more.
Spiders are a lot safer than pesticides and work for free.
Just keep the area around them clean.

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2 replies
justright4yall alfredschrader August 21 2014 at 4:03 PM

Ever been bit by A Brown Recluse
That friend will kill ya.

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jrexmarda alfredschrader August 21 2014 at 11:07 PM

Hey Alfred, I have a smaller variety of the species they are talking about in the article in my garden. They run into hiding when I bump their web. Even ran full face into one of those webs getting the mail one morning, the poor spider fell to the ground and ran away. Never saw a spider attack a human though they are often curious about us which sometimes gets them into trouble.

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michael07 August 21 2014 at 10:34 AM

So the AOL headline said..."part of the U.S.". I know we aren't real smart on AOL, but Sydney is in Australia. To the headline writer, just google Sydney, or go to your grandparents home and spin the globe

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2 replies
myirysheyes michael07 August 21 2014 at 11:17 AM

the globe is an ever-changing orb, especially if it's your grandparents' (so like, where is Ceylon again??) but I totally agree...not just aol, though...checked a news article lately?? "their totally in eror in they're grammar" but, we're all "a-twitter" so who cares, right? ;) (by the way, "eror" got the red line, but nothing under the "there"s; so much for spell check...

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annette.testa michael07 August 21 2014 at 2:00 PM

There aren't more illiterate people in the world. There are just more illiterate people trying to write.

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1 reply
doketx annette.testa August 21 2014 at 3:25 PM


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sadiemae1214 August 21 2014 at 10:04 AM

When I lived in the woods in Central Florida, we had huge Banana spiders that built webs between 2 trees and were large enough to catch small birds. Talk about creepy. Just walk into one of those webs after dark!

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1 reply
bshum3 sadiemae1214 August 21 2014 at 4:36 PM

If you check out which spiders have the worse venom , Banana Spiders are at the top above black widows and brown recluse !they don't seem to bite people much . In fact if you touch one on the leg or anyplace else , that spider will be dead the next day .

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renovater August 21 2014 at 2:02 PM

here in Southern Louisiana, Golden Orb's are very common. Gin the woods,all over, on utility lines,etc. They are not a threat to humans. Do weave hugh webs,so watch out when walking...

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Viper1ex19 August 21 2014 at 4:30 PM


You never read the 1st Amendment?

You're doing a great job of deleting posts you don't agree with but that's to be expected of mindless FLAMING LIBERALS

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1 reply
Meh... Viper1ex19 August 21 2014 at 5:17 PM

That has what to do with giant spiders?

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skidrowtom August 21 2014 at 2:20 PM

Hey AOL..... Where in the U.S. are they spreading? Another inaccurate headline!

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2 replies
patt64 skidrowtom August 21 2014 at 3:24 PM

We welcome them in our Gulf Coast area..they just LOVE mosquitos and other small insects....you might read about the Golden Orb Web Weaver, they are extremely interesting arachnids.

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Kate skidrowtom August 22 2014 at 2:15 AM

I think that all they meant was big cities in general.

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candoauto1 August 21 2014 at 10:44 AM

I live downtown LA. I have not seen a spider in 10 years I lived here. I have seen several large rats however when I walk my dog at night. I do live on a high floor in a highrise however, and maybe the spiders tend to stay closer to the ground. Not sure. The rats though, they are the size of a house cat

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4 replies
XXX123 August 21 2014 at 4:49 PM

Make good house pets

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