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Spider World Records!

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Halloween Time brings out almost everyone’s fear of spiders, and is the one night in the year where these arachnids get to shine amongst the other ghouls and goblins. If you want to get to know some of the most fascinating spiders around, you can read the recently published paper in PeerJ that catalogues the over 100 spider world records. Stefano Mammola and his colleagues meticulously catalogued and described these arachnids, providing all the details of their anatomy, lifestyles, and behaviors in one big paper akin to the spider version of the Guinness Book of World Records. Here are just a few of the spiders that made the list.

The spider that wins the prize for the most unusual venom is not one of the dangerous biters you might have guessed. In fact the Scytodidae aren’t known for biting at all. They are more commonly referred to as spitting spiders because they…well, spit. These spiders actually spit their venom, which is a sticky mixture of venom and silk, at their prey. They are able to shoot their venom in zig zag patterns at over 28 meters per second at their prey, which they target from a distance. While the venom does contain toxins, scientists are still unsure whether the venom actually harms the prey or simply ensnares them.

Have you ever wondered which spider is the fussiest? Probably not, but the fussiest spider in the world has now been catalogued. Most spiders will eat a variety of prey and are not too picky about it, as long as they can kill it. While there are some species with peculiar diets, none can compare with the East African jumping spider, Evarcha culicivora when it comes to being the fussiest eaters. These tiny spiders like to consume the blood of vertebrate animals, but lack the necessary vampire fangs to do it. So, they do the next best thing; eat the worst vampiric insect of them all, female Anopheles mosquitos. These spiders are actually able to tell which mosquitos feed on blood apart from other similarly sized mosquitos and insects. Scientists actually wonder if their particular tastes could be used as a biological control agent to help us reduce the mosquitos that spread malaria and other horrible diseases.

What spider world records are curious to know? Which spider do you think holds the record for smelliest?