back to article MULTICOLOURED TARANTULAS found UP TREES in Brazil

Spider experts working in Brazil have discovered nine new species of pink, purple and orange mini tarantulas after carefully probing into the classification of the hairy horrors. The haul of new spider species comes from a study in the Amazon rainforest by tarantula specialist Dr Rogerio Bertani of the Instituto Butantan in …

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  1. Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Oh well done.

    How many times do you use the word "small", "tiny", "smallest" and so on without once giving us an idea of scale. How about you use the unit `dinner plate'. Tell us how small small is for a tarantula as a proportion of a dinner plate. 1 ground dwelling tarantula being one dinner plate, is one of these little critters 1/10th of a dinner plate? 1/1000th? 1/2?

    What?

    I'm none the wiser.

    1. FartingHippo
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Oh well done.

      Indeed. When it comes to spiders, anything larger than my little finger nail moves from Tiny all the way to Stamp-On-The-Scary-Bastard-Now.

      Oh look, a spider icon. Must have lost a leg while a mate was trying to eat it.

      1. Captain DaFt

        @FartingHippo

        Takes all kinds, I guess. Personally, I thought they were cute, but then, I've always liked spiders.

        They eat pests, and are one of Nature's most perfect predators, while being mostly harmless to humans.

        Sure there are a few species dangerous to humans, like the Redback, Brown Recluse, and the Black Widow, but the vast majority are less dangerous to people than Honeybees. Hell, even more harmless than flies, since they don't spread disease!

        Of course, on the downside, they do tend to show up everywhere! Factoid: Unless you're outdoors in Antartica, you're probably never further than a meter from a spider.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Captain DaFt

          Thanks for the info, Sheldon. Here's another factoid - people who already know all that can still be creeped out by them.

        2. Steven Roper
          Thumb Up

          @ Captain DaFt

          I also like spiders, but living in Australia I'm fairly choosy about what species I allow to cohabit with me. Redbacks and White-tails, for example, die upon detection.

          My favourite kind is the Huntsman spider, a common household species in Adelaide. They're definitely in the huge-'n'-hairy category, averaging 3 inches across the legs with a fat bulbous body more than an inch long. They look horrific, but they're completely non-poisonous and harmless (although if you piss them off they can inflict a painful bite). These I'm quite happy to have around the house, since they get rid of the flies and mozzies that are a perennial problem here.

          What I most like about Huntsmans is they don't build webs, so they don't clutter up your place with scruffy spider silk wall hangings. Instead, they lie quietly in a corner until a fly or moth or mozzie flies near them, then they teleport themselves to the location of the prey insect, knocking it to the floor, and scoff it down then and there. "Teleport" is the only way to describe the speed with which these spiders jump to snatch prey, and it can be a bit disconcerting to watch, but I have yet to have one land on me - they choose their launch vectors wisely!

          Want to see what one looks like? Have a look at this! (WARNING: horrible-huge-'n'-hairy alert!)

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: @ Captain DaFt

            Being American, I did a double take when I read that, as I read "mozzies" and thought for a moment you meant felines. That would be one hell of a nasty spider to take down a cat!

            I'm not afraid of spiders per se, and quite like tarantulas, but I'd have to draw the line at seeing a furry 3" blur zipping across the room out of the corner of my eye, regardless of its ability to kill flies and mosquitoes. If insects that much of a problem, I'll be sure to keep my window screens in good repair rather than sharing my house with prowling spiders!

            Come to think of it, can moggies share a house with huntsman spiders? It's bad enough when the cat tries to bring in a half eaten something it caught outside, but if it's catching them inside it'd probably bring a half eaten spider into my bed first thing in the morning. No thanks!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Captain DaFt

            Want to see what one looks like? Have a look at this! (WARNING: horrible-huge-'n'-hairy alert!)

            That actually looks quite cute to me, and that's from someone who doesn't particularly care to be near spiders!

          3. Corinne
            Happy

            Re: @ Captain DaFt

            @ Steven Roper

            That Huntsman is so CUTE. Totally in agreement that a nice non-web-building spider is a boon to have in the house, I used tgo have whatever the UK equivalent is in my previous houses & they seemed to not only keep the place clear of flying beasties but also I had few other spiders about - wish I could find & import some to this house, for some reason I only seem to have web producing ones here.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Oh well done.

      Looking at the other pictures in the article, it appears one leg segment ∼ 1cm. So still O(dinner plate).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      fractal dinnerplates

      If it's say 1/10th of a dinner plate, are we properly talking dinnerplate surface or dinnerplate radius (so 1/100th of surface)?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Preserve the rain forest

    So we can save tree-dwelling poisonous spiders?

    Have these people never seen "Eight Legged Freaks"? We're one accident away from large, colourful, carnivorous spiders jumping out of trees at us.

    Burn the forest down now! It's us or them...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    can I have one with Hello Kitty please

    my daughter would love that!

    I wonder, how soon before they'll start showing off logos, like apples and such.. .windows, and stuff.

    1. Chavdar Ivanov
      Thumb Up

      Re: can I have one with Hello Kitty please

      Sure - old stuff - can't miss the chance to plug my workplace - http://www.delcam.com/ ... you can see Boris the Spider everywhere, especially here - http://www.delcam.com/general/about/boris.asp !

    2. Dave 32
      Mushroom

      Re: can I have one with Hello Kitty please

      I think you mis-worded that. I think you meant "How long before they're sued by Apple for having an apple logo on their body?". ;-)

      Dave

  4. Ketlan
    Thumb Down

    No blue arse - no story!

    Meh. I preferred the story about the monkey with the massive blue arse.

    *Where's the arse on a spider anyway? Just wondering.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: No blue arse - no story!

      And the question science has always wanted to know - why don't they have 7 of them, one between each pair of buttocks ?

      1. steeplejack

        Seven missing buttocks could be a story.

        They also missed the chance to have seven more heads, or armpits or something.

        I suppose you don't really need them, just living in trees.

        Arses would be useful, though.

  5. SuperHoopMango
    Mushroom

    Arachnophobia

    Won't someone think of the children?

    Have none of you seen Arachnophoblia? It only takes one of the little buggers to get flown over here....met a local lass....Implant her will a million offspring, and I'll be scared to move!

    Explosion = What we should be doing to the spiders that are bigger than 1cm

    1. SuperHoopMango
      WTF?

      Re: Arachnophobia

      Do you see what happens?

      Someone mentions spiders and my spelling goes to pot!

      What is this "Arachnophoblia" that I've mentioned??

      1. Captain Save-a-ho
        Coat

        Re: Arachnophobia

        Arachnophoblia = the extremely confused mental (and likely physical) state resulting from a person simultaneously feeling both arachnophobia and arachnophilia.

        You need to trade mark this while you can, before you get sued in the EU and US.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Arachnophobia

          arachnophilia - is that getting it on with dead spiders?

  6. nimster
    Boffin

    genuine question

    what use, specifically, would a pharma company for these lil' critters?

    Is it just for the colours and how to make new dyes?

    1. The BigYin

      Re: genuine question

      Venom...possibly their silk? Venom has lots of compounds which can be researched to find new drugs.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: genuine question

        Silk is of extreme interest to engineering companies more than pharma. strength-weight ratio is better than steel, but no-ones been able to properly replicate it industrially. BUT - do tarantulas even produce silk at all?? I thought the were hunters rather than trappers

        1. Burbage

          Re: genuine question

          Funny you should ask that. The answer is yes, and, unusually, they can exude it from their feet.

          See http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/13382903 for details (warning, spider pics)

          Spider silk isn't just used for predatory webs. It's used to make homes (funnels and tunnels and trapdoors), to protect young (the nursery spiders make little tents full of spiderlings), to constrain prey, to package up eggs and for transport - both for the traditional dangly stuff and, if they're not too heavy, for 'parachuting' on the wind from one place to another. Some insects, particularly moths, can use silk in some of these ways, but only spiders have such a wide range of uses, and only spiders, as far as I know, can vary the structure of their silk according to what they are doing.

          That said, I'm still terrified of the bastards.

        2. steeplejack

          Re: genuine question

          Yes, some of the ground-dwelling tarantulas produce a great deal of silk, as a cross between a mat and a web surrounding their favourite resting place.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: genuine question

      It is confusing - I thought it was pharma first multicoloured spiders second.

  7. Shadowmanx2012
    Happy

    Me too!

    That said, despite suffering from arachnophobia still, I can appreciate their beauty and definitely their usefulness!

    Just as long as they stay in the tropics, we'll get along just fine.

    1. Confuciousmobil

      Re: Me too!

      They don't have to stay in the tropics, they can go anywhere I don't. I'm not fussy.

  8. Triggerfish

    Tropical houseguests

    We used to have a large bird eating spider (I have a pic of it on a bathroom tile and it was getting on for 8 inches across). Living wild in the house.

    I have no idea why it had decided to live above the toilet cistern (and not one of the cisterns that are high up on the wall the waist height ones) rather than a burrow it used to like sitting on the wall at about chest height, once you got over that fact during your toilet you were fine.

    I just made sure to shuffle my feet when walking round at night with the lights off (toilet light was a bit dodgy and didn't always work). Frankly it was a welcome house guest for getting rid of other annoying bugs.

    It lived in the house for quite a while until one day the tokay gecko living in the eaves of the house ate it.

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