Spiders Prefer City Living

Study finds that those in urban areas tend to grow bigger, have more babies

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 21, 2014 9:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Though they've got more feet to avoid, spiders in the city seem to thrive in comparison to their counterparts in the country, a new study in PloS One suggests. Researchers in Australia studied golden orb weaver spiders and found that they grew bigger and reproduced more in urban environments. One reason might be that cities tend to be warmer given all that concrete and asphalt. ''We think by being in these areas with higher temperatures, the spiders have more energy to put toward reproduction and they're surviving longer as well,'' a lead researcher tells the Sydney Morning Herald.

Nor does it hurt that city lights attract more bugs to feast on in a concentrated area. What's more, when the spiders build their large webs in the country, other species tend to zip in and steal dinner. But that seems less pronounced in the city because the "little kleptos" have fewer places to hide, explains Wired. One other nugget spotted by the LA Times: The more upscale the neighborhood, the more the spiders thrived. “The increased expenditure and management of parks in wealthy suburbs could result in healthier vegetation patches, which would increase prey abundance and allow spiders to grow larger and build up fat reserves," write the researchers. (And if that fails, the spiders can just go fishing.)

A female golden orb-weaving spider.
A female golden orb-weaving spider.   (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser, Lloyd Gallman)
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