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Robert Whyte

Meet 10 Beautiful Spiders

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Robert Whyte

Are you afraid of spiders? Don’t be; these are only pictures of spiders that stand out because of their strikingly beautiful appearance. Or at least, some species of spiders that you’d be lucky to ever see in the wild. They’re always prettier when you don’t have to separate them from a screaming family member in the bathroom.

Sequined Spiders


Photograph by Doug Beckers.

Some species of the spider genus called Thwaitesia are also referred to as mirror spiders, bling spiders, or sequined spiders because of the bright and sometimes reflective jewel tones of their abdomens. This one is from Australia.


Photograph by Flickr user Robert Whyte.

Thwaitesia nigronodosa are also found in Australia.


Photograph by Poyt448 Peter Woodard.

Another species of mirrored spider is Thwaitesia argentiopunctata. These colorful spiders are found in Australia. Honestly, not all Thwaitesia species are in Australia, just the most nicely photographed examples.

Ladybird Mimic Spider


Photograph by Flickr user Vijay Anand Ismavel.

The Ladybird Mimic Spider, or Paraplectana, adopted the red with black spots look of a common ladybug. Why? Possibly it’s because ladybugs taste pretty bad, and are unattractive to predators. They are found in the tropical regions of Africa and Asia.

Spiny Orb Weaver


Photograph by Thejasvi Munishankarappa.

Spiders of the genus Gasteracantha are orb weavers. Gasteracantha dalyi are native to India and have two long curved “horns.” Those spines are not really horns, but the spider’s spinnerets. Scary looking, but still beautiful in its own way.

Ogre-Faced Spider


Photograph by Flickr user Robert Whyte.

This is the face of an ogre-faced spider, or Deinopis subrufa. Look at those beautiful blue eyes! This species is a net-casting spider, meaning it throws its web to catch prey. It lives in eastern Australia and Tasmania.

Jumping Spiders


Photograph by Flickr user Thomas Shahan.

The genus Phidippus are jumping spiders, mostly found in North America. One of the prettiest is Phidippus workmani, found in the United States. How could you resist those lovely eyes -all four of them?


Photograph by Flickr user Thomas Shahan.

Phidippus putnami is also quite beautiful, with colors that resemble a flower.

Peacock Spiders


Photograph by Flickr user Jurgen Otto.

Maratus splendens is not the only species of peacock spider, but its taxonomic name is particularly descriptive. It is certainly splendid! This species is only found near Sydney, Australia. The male of the species has a colorful flap that it raises to attract females.


Photograph by Flickr Jurgen Otto.

Maratus volens, on the other hand, is found in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Maratus spiders are a type of jumping spider. The female is a dull brown, which is just fine with the family.

See also: 5 Terrifyingly Huge Spiders, 9 Spiders and the Stars They Were Named For, and The Creepiest Spider Videos You'll Ever See.

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Focus Features
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Animals
25 Shelter Dogs Who Made It Big
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Focus Features

If you’ve been thinking of adding a four-legged friend to your brood and are deciding whether a shelter dog is right for you, consider this: Some of history’s most amazing pooches—from four-legged movie stars to heroic rescue dogs—were found in animal shelters. In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, here are 25 shelter dogs who made it big.

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This High-Tech Material Can Change Shape Like an Octopus
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iStock

Octopuses can do some pretty amazing things with their skin, like “see” light, resist the pull of their own sticky suction cups, and blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. That last part now has the U.S. Army interested, as Co.Design reports. The military branch’s research office has funded the development a new type of morphing material that works like an octopus’s dynamic skin.

The skin of an octopus is covered in small, muscular bumps called papillae that allow them to change textures in a fraction of a second. Using this mechanism, octopuses can mimic coral, rocks, and even other animals. The new government-funded research—conducted by scientists at Cornell University—produced a device that works using a similar principle.

“Technologies that use stretchable materials are increasingly important, yet we are unable to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons,” the scientists write in their study, recently published in the journal Science. “Nature, however, demonstrates remarkable control of stretchable surfaces.”

The membrane of the stretchy, silicone material lays flat most of the time, but when it’s inflated with air, it can morph to form almost any 3D shape. So far, the technology has been used to imitate rocks and plants.

You can see the synthetic skin transform from a two-dimensional pad to 3D models of objects in the video below:

It’s easy to see how this feature could be used in military gear. A soldier’s suit made from material like this could theoretically provide custom camouflage for any environment in an instant. Like a lot of military technology, it could also be useful in civilian life down the road. Co.Design writer Jesus Diaz brings up examples like buttons that appear on a car's dashboard only when you need them, or a mixing bowl that rises from the surface of the kitchen counter while you're cooking.

Even if we can mimic the camouflage capabilities of cephalopods, though, other impressive superpowers, like controlling thousands of powerful suction cups or squeezing through spaces the size of a cherry tomato, are still the sole domain of the octopus. For now.

[h/t Co.Design]

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