The Olios coenobitus spider lives in Madagascar, and it's basically the hermit crab of spiders: It hangs out in empty snail shells. In this video from the BBC's Madagascar, Sir David Attenborough narrates video of O. coenobitus spiders hoisting shells into plants using strands of silk, then hiding in them. Wow:
The Tiny, Pretty Diamond Spider Isn't Extinct After All
BY Kirstin Fawcett
October 10, 2017
Lucy Stockton/National Trust Images
An elusive spider that was believed to be extinct in Britain has been spotted for the first time in nearly 50 years, according to The Telegraph.
Pretty little Thanatus formicinus—more commonly known as the diamond spider—is just a third of an inch long and gets its name from the thin black diamond on its hairy gray abdomen. The spider typically lives in damp areas with moss and flowering plants, like heather and purple moor grass. But since the arachnid was last spotted in England’s Ashdown Forest in 1969, conservationists assumed that it had fallen victim to habitat loss.
Turns out, the spider wasn’t extinct—it was just laying low for a few decades. While conducting an ecological survey of Clumber Park—an expanse of heath, woods, and parkland in Nottinghamshire—two volunteers with England’s National Trust conservation organization recently spotted the long-lost arachnid.
“The spider ran away from me twice, but with persistence and some luck, I caught it,” said Lucy Stockton, the National Trust volunteer who sighted the arachnid along with companion Trevor Harris.
The duo’s discovery in Clumber Park marks just the fourth time the spider had ever been recorded in the UK, and the only time it's been seen in the north of the country. “We are absolutely delighted that this pretty, little spider has been re-found, we had almost given up hope,” commented Mark Shardlow, the chief executive of Buglife, an English conservation group. “It is a testament to the crucial importance of charities like the National Trust saving and managing heathland habitats.”
Kids in Australia have reason to be wary of eight-legged creatures. The continent is home to some pretty dangerous spiders, including deadly funnel-web spiders, which have strong enough fangs to bite through a toenail. Australia's spiders have claimed a new victim, though: a few episodes of the animated British show Peppa Pig.
As Slate reports, an episode of the show has been pulled from the broadcast lineup in Australia for urging kids not to be afraid of spiders. The episode, "Mister Skinnylegs," first aired in 2004, and had already been banned from public broadcasting in 2012, but it recently re-ran on Nick Jr. through the Australian cable service Foxtel. Another episode featuring the same spider character, "Spider Web," is also banned in the country.
In "Mister Skinny Legs," Peppa Pig's brother George finds a spider in the sink and becomes its friend. Peppa is scared at first, but her father tells her, "There's no need to be afraid. Spiders are very, very small, and they can't hurt you."
Arguing that Down Under, spiders can, in fact, hurt you, parents complained that the episode was inappropriate for impressionable Australian viewers. After the outcry following the August 25 re-run, Nick Jr. has agreed to pull the episode from rotation in Australia.
While Australia does have some scary spiders, the risk may be a bit overblown. In a recent study, researchers found zero deaths from spider bites in the country between 2000 and 2013. (There was one fatality in 2016, but it was the first in 37 years.) Almost 12,000 people did end up in the hospital with spider bites during those years, though. On the other hand, the same study found that more Australians were killed by horses during that time period than all of the country's venomous creatures combined. Still, it's perhaps best to avoid telling kids to make friends with black widows. Watch the episode below at your own risk.