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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bug Wars: Spider Attacks Grasshopper and Disappears Down Black Hole

This week I have renamed Sam (NHM's media producer for Nature Lab) Spider-Man! He's been out and about carefully sticking a mechanic's device into spider homes, so visitors to our Spider Pavilion can get a view into spider lives, like never before.

Funnel web spider, family Agelenidae

Why you may ask? It's all in an effort to offer something new and interesting to Spider Pavilion visitors, and to test out ideas we have for media content in our upcoming Nature Lab exhibit. So Sam has been trekking around hillsides in the Santa Monica Mountains trying to find inhabited funnel webs.

Some hillsides are better than others. The best ones are covered with hundreds of webs, like miniature spider cities. When Sam finds a good web for filming he sets up his equipment and gently probes into the funnel to see if anyone's home. He's using a borescope, an optical device used by mechanics to inspect hard to see parts of engines. Sam has also been setting up HD camera traps above the funnels to catch spiders in the act.

Sam using the Borescope

Check out this bug war: Spider versus Grasshopper!

To see more of the hidden lives of spiders visit our Spider Pavilion, opening September 25.

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