A weird little spider that looks like a floppy hat has been named after an infamous floppy hat: The Sorting Hat from Harry Potter. Meet your new favorite spider, Eriovixia gryffindori — which is somehow a spider and not a spell.
Introduced in a paper published in the Indian Journal of Arachnology, this “new species of cryptic, dry-foliage mimicking araneid” looks a lot like the Sorting Hat from the side and was found in “unique ‘Kans’ forestlands of central Western Ghats, Karnataka, India,” writes Nerdist. At least they didn’t name it Hufflepuffi or else we’d dismiss this spider as totally useless. Like, why does that house even exist?
The paper explains in detail why it was named after the beloved hat:
This uniquely shaped spider derives its name from the fabulous, sentient magical artifact, the sorting hat, owned by the (fictitious) medieval wizard Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and stemming from the powerful imagination of Ms. J. K. Rowling, wordsmith extraordinaire, as presented in her beloved series of books, featuring everyone’s favorite boy-wizard, Harry Potter. An ode from the authors, for magic lost, and found, in an effort to draw attention to the fascinating, but oft overlooked world of invertebrates, and their secret lives.
Everyone’s favorite scene in Harry Potter is where Harry is chosen to join house Gryffindor, and we also wonder why Hogwarts doesn't revamp the Slytherin program, since it keeps producing bad guys. Seriously, there’s something up with how those kids are taught. Well, now you can ask the Sorting Hat yourself, if you are ever look in the forestlands of central Western Ghats and speak spider.
Nature is a cruel beast. If you aren’t doing the eating, you’re the one being eaten.
Wish someone had told this lizard that, though.
Another one doing the eating that night was Melanie Jade Ottaway, who sat down to eat dinner when she noticed this gigantic huntsman spider about to chow down on a gecko. The spider sat patiently on a glass door with the lizard hanging out of its mouth. Nature is terrifying.
She told The Daily Mail, “'We just sat down to have dinner at the dining table and noticed something massive on the glass sliding door. I got up to have a closer look and there it was, a huge huntsman with a gorgeous little gecko in. It was too late to save him, so we let nature take its path.”
Nature, your cruel ways are a mystery to us all. We march on in fear.
The newly discovered spider called the dolomedes briangreenei hails from, you guessed it, Australia. One of it's species, whose name is Brian, was presented at the World Science Festival in Brisbane.
He was named after Professor Brian Greene, cofounder of the World Science Festival and a string theorist.
Brian (the spider, not the string theorist) uses vibrations in the water to fish. Robert Raven, Principal Scientist of Arachnology at the Queensland Museum told Mashable:
These spiders sit there on the water and then all of a sudden an insect will hit the water and the spider races out to get it, grabs it, dives under the water and then swims back to the shore and starts eating it.
It eats insects, fish and toads up to three times it's own size. Apparently its bites aren't that dangerous but the fact remains; now even the water is not safe from spiders.
Have you ever wanted to see a 99 million-year-old spider penis? I bet you thought that wasn't even an option but here it is, preserved in amber:
Charlotte is laughing at you.
It's been a weird couple weeks in spider world. It seems like their intelligence has grown at an exponential rate and no one knows where it will end.
Scientists have discovered spiders that know how to parachute effectively and how to tie up stone in their webs, probably to drop on unsuspecting passerbys.
They've even started joining up by the hundreds of thousands to create masses mega-webs.
And now this.
Spiders have learned to read, then learned to write with their webs, then learned enough to understand the subtlety of Internet slang to throw shade at the world.
Our one savior is the cutest spider ever who we want to have as our Ninja Turtle friend.
At least we are still ahead of them. Facebook said that people aren't really using 'LOL' anymore, instead relying on more nuanced phrases like 'haha' and emojis.
Get with the times, spiders. You haven't caught up to us quite yet.
University of California Berkeley researchers have found spiders in Panama and Peru that can steer themselves in a free fall to land where they'd like.
Probably on your face. Not really.
These tree-dwelling species are giving those researchers some insight into the actual evolution of flying insects, which is super neat even though it ignites the nightmares in your sleep.
Look into its face.
io9 discusses these spider powers discovered by the researchers.
To test their abilities, the researchers dropped 59 Selenops spiders from either canopy platforms of tree crowns in Panama and Peru. The vast majority (93%) directed their aerial trajectories towards nearby trunks. After landing, they re-oriented themselves and walked head-first towards specific targets.
The scientists say that this type of behavior may have preceded the origin of wings. The spiders are exceptionally thin, and they exploit the powers of lift and drag by spreading their legs wide open. They're even able to right themselves in midair when they turn upside-down. The biologists also witnessed spiders who bounced off a tree trunk, only to recover and resume the glide back down to the surface.
They put together this
nifty panic-attack-inducing video to show off the spider's skills.
You can read the whole scientific study here.
Thousands of spiders have teamed up in Rowlett, Texas to create a Mega-web. And that's really the scientific term used to describe this disgusting phenomenon.
"Someone stepping off the road for a closer look will see thousands of lanky spiders darting among the webs that extend up to 40 feet into the trees," he said. "There is a surreal quality to the extensive webbing covering these trees."
"[I]t is rare to see them building such large nests in the U.S. Spider experts have indicated that those 'right conditions' appear to include a glut of small insects like midges that emerge at night from lakes. Without lots of food, these communal webs just don't seem to form."
"These types of spiders are unusual in that they are not aggressive to other spiders of the same species on the same web," he said. "They also are not known to bite or be harmful to humans."
Yeah, whatever buddy.
Local station WFAA also reported on the spillage of nightmare fuel, saying that it is many different species of spiders that make up the monstrosity which will haunt your dreams into eternity.
Something like millions of mosquitos, flies and other spider food is supposed to be the cause of this cataclysm and now that they've gotten the taste for teamwork, probably nothing will stop them ever.
You just know this is a bad graphic to see on the nightly news:
Here's the local footage of God's latest joke on humanity:
Spiders have already infiltrated our bananas, and now they’re souring another of our favorite fruits.
A 21-year-old woman in Vermont was recently bitten by a black widow spider after reaching into a bag of grapes she purchased at the local Shaw’s supermarket.
That’s a whole bunch of “nope” right there.
She and her mother captured the little culprit that had crawled up her arm and brought it with them to the hospital where the woman was treated and eventually released.
The creature is identifiable by a red hourglass-shape on its belly, so if you see the mark, stay away.
Here’s the supermarket’s statement about the incident, via WPTZ:
The health and safety of products we sell, and our customers, is our first concern. We have been closely monitoring the situation and been in contact with the family. We replaced product in the customer’s refrigerator as a precaution and took immediate action to inspect the product at the customer’s store. We also are inspecting the product in all of our stores and have been in touch with the supplier, which has an extensive food safety management system in place.
While their venom is poisonous, most people just experience a pin prick followed by dull muscle pain along with other possible symptoms.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
Severe symptoms usually start to improve within 2 to 3 days, but milder symptoms may persist for several weeks. Death in a normally healthy individual is very rare. Young children, the extremely ill, and the elderly may not survive a bite.
Black widows were also found in bags of grapes in stores across several different states back in 2013.
This mast March a woman in Wales found a Brazilian Wandering Spider in her bag of bananas, which is considered the “world’s most venomous spider” by the Guinness World Records.
Other spiders have also been in the news a lot lately, particularly in Australia, where they are literally raining down from the sky as part of a phenomenon called “mass ballooning.”
Just don’t try to kill any of them, or you might end up with hundreds of even smaller spiders on your hands like this guy did.
According to an Australian news outlet, Dylan Thomas woke up to a bizarre red trail going from his navel to his chest. When the angry red line grew even longer, he consulted a doctor who advised it was simply an insect bite and gave him some anti-histamine cream.
Within hours painful blisters erupted along the red line, sending him back to hospital where a dermatologist determined a tropical spider had burrowed into the 21-year-old's body presumably through a recent appendix scar.
Here's the aftermath:
A man who lived at the home told fire officials he was trying to kill a spider in his laundry room using a can of spray paint and a lighter when the wall caught fire, according to Kyle Moore with the Seattle Fire Department. The man wasn't able to put the fire out himself, and he left the home when it began to spread.
Somewhere out there is a spider with burn wounds and a taste for vengeance. Congratulations, Seattle man, you've created the first spider super villain.