Experts - Spiders get Bigger in Cities

Bad news for Kansas City residents with Spiders!

City living can really have its perks – if you’re a spider. Golden orb-weaving spiders that lived in urban areas were bigger and more successful than their country-dwelling counterparts, according to a team of Australian scientists.

The findings, published in PLOS One, detail the complexity of urbanization on animals that manage to survive, even thrive, in a man-made environment.

“Urbanization modifies landscapes at multiple scales, impacting the local climate and changing the extent and quality of natural habitats,” the study authors wrote. Usually it degrades those habitats and species struggle to survive, but some, like pigeons and raccoons, become “urban exploiters,” readily adapting to the new environment.

But birds and rodents are relatively large, mobile creatures, and the University of Sydney researchers wanted to see how the urbanization effect played out on small as well as large scales. They focused on Nephila plumipes, known as the golden orb-weaving spider, because these eight-legged critters like to settle down once they mature: They spin beautiful semi-permanent webs and then hang out there for the rest of their lives, which makes it easier to measure how the environment affects them.

Source: Anima Khan at the Los Angeles Times, via the Kansas City Star. Read the full article here.

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