A tangled web?

I imagine many people have seen garden spiders like this one- photo courtesy of USFWS

I imagine many people have seen garden spiders like this one- photo courtesy of USFWS

For people who know me, this month’s topic may come as something of a surprise- I am not good with spiders, I do not like them close to me, I get creeped out watching them move. But I’m also trying to be open-minded when it comes to conservation concerns- just because I don’t personally like an animal, or plant for that matter (not a fan of black locust trees, either- mowing the lawn around them can get painful at times…), is no reason to turn a blind eye to their decline. It’s true that people are often motivated to contribute to conservation efforts when the species is charismatic- for example, with pandas or elephants or bald eagles- but that doesn’t negate the importance of preserving entire ecosystems, including the less-appealing parts.

So, when I saw a news story about scientists researching the color patterns of tarantulas and determining that the different species had developed blue coloring at least 8 times, that got me thinking about these creatures that I generally would prefer to avoid. I know very, very little about spiders in general- they aren’t bugs, their webs can be very sticky, they eat other things I don’t appreciate like biting insects. I have no idea if they, like other invertebrate species, are facing survival challenges from an increasingly human-altered and -dominated world. If they are, I don’t know if there are already groups working for spider conservation.

This month I’ll be walking on the web side, trying to learn as much as I can about spider conservation issues and whether there is some role that I can play as well. Time to look these animals more fully in the face.

Posted December 2, 2015 by Mirka Zapletal in Arachnids, Arthropods

Tagged with , ,