Certain spiders are bigger and more fertile in cities

By Mila Whiteley,

Hopefully Little Miss Muffet lives in the country, because according to a new study, certain spiders thrive in the urban atmospheres.

Using a sample of spiders found in Australia from April and June 2012, the study found that the golden orb weaver spiders found in the urban areas of Sydney were larger and had heavier ovaries, signaling their fertility, according to BBC Nature.

The golden orb weaver spider is common in Australia, Indonesia and some Pacific islands and though venomous, they are normally harmless, Sky News reports.

The results of the study, which was published in the journal PLOS One, not only provide interesting insights on golden orb weaver spiders, but also show the implications that urbanization can have on the environment. Factors such as the higher temperatures and higher populations of cities can be beneficial for spiders, as they can attract prey and provide a hospitable environment.

The success of certain species of spider in cities is important data according to University of Sydney’s Elizabeth Lowe, who was lead researcher on the study. Speaking on the implications of the study, Lowe stated, “In order to maintain biodiversity in cities, we need to be able to support diverse populations of spiders and other invertebrates. By gaining a better understanding of the impacts of urbanization on wildlife in cities, we can work towards creating healthy, functioning ecosystems in urban areas."



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