Scientist Kills Spider, Gets Death Threats

The puppy-sized creature apparently was beloved on the Internet
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2014 2:31 PM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2014 6:29 AM CDT
Scientist Kills Spider, Gets Death Threats
File photo of a Goliath birdeater.   (Shuttestock)

The killing of a spider doesn't normally trigger death threats, but it does apparently if the spider's demise makes national headlines. Harvard researcher Piotr Naskrecki found this out the hard way after his account of finding a spider the size of a puppy in Guyana went viral earlier this month. A typical comment posted on his Facebook page: “Did you kill this amazing animal because you have to own it?” Another person emailed to say that someone in Naskrecki's family should die, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Naskrecki has now written a new blog post explaining that yes, he did "carefully" kill the spider, called a Goliath birdeater, so the specimen could be preserved for study. That's pretty much what scientists do, he writes. "Can collecting specimens for scientific research threaten a species’s survival?" he asks. "The short answer is no, there is absolutely no evidence that any scientist has ever driven a species to extinction." And if taking one specimen would doom a species, the species was doomed anyway. Fear not, though, the spider is "very common," he writes. For more, read about how the Goliath birdeater got its name. (More spiders stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.