Well, if you didn’t hate spiders enough, you will be terrified now. A new study is out showing that a species of orb-weaver spiders living in Sydney is getting bigger and reproducing more. The PLOS One study will have us believing this is a good thing, so I think we will have to take the scientists word on this. And SyFy? This news doesn’t need a TV movie. I know you’re already thinking about it.

So, why are urban spiders getting bigger than their country-living cousins? A lot has to do with hotter temperatures in an urban environment such as Sydney. Metro areas undergo what is called a heat island effect. Also, food sources are more abundant in cities.

The good news front comes from bigger and more numerous spiders can help keep the insect population down. The spiders are a source of food for birds, and we have the circle of life song humming in our heads. Thanks PLOS One.

Nephila plumipes are the species that scientists in Sydney caught and studied. The species is prevalent in Eastern Australia and the Asian-Pacific region. Researchers caught 222 golden orb-weavers all across Sydney. The spiders were weighed and measured. Study authors then looked at their urbanization, factoring in paved surfaces and the spider’s proximity to Sydney’s urban core.

Lead author, Elizabeth Lowe, wrote in The Conversation about the findings. “The fact that some spiders are loving cities is cause for hope. In fact, in order to maintain biodiversity in cities we need to be able to support more diverse populations of spiders and other invertebrates.”

The study also shows that urban animal life is more resilient than previously thought. Its ability to adapt will be crucial as the world’s population becomes more urbanized in the coming decades.


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