Spider Eats Bird in Australia

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Golden Orb Spider eats a chestnut-breasted Mannikin in Australian garden.
Image and story: Daily Mail.

This picture and story is so creepy that it makes my skin crawl to see this at the top of my blog. But it’s also very strange — the stuff of nightmares!! — so I had to share it with you. If you are an arachnophobe, as I am, this will defintely give you nightmares. But if you are insatiably curious about the natural world, as I am, follow the link for the story and for more gruesome images — just in time for Hallowe’en.

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About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Spider Eats Bird in Australia

  1. jake says:

    Wow. I don’t know if they were THAT big, but I’ve seen some massive golden orb spiders in the field in Florida. The spiders themselves could be larger than your hand, but the webs were insane. I’ve seen many whose webs would span trails that were at least 20 feet wide. Just insane.

  2. Thomas says:

    Here’s a photo of two of these golden orb spiders (male and female?) with a human hand for scale reference.
    http://www.mit.edu/~nagaj/photo/0701australia/br20.jpg
    In context
    http://www.mit.edu/~nagaj/photo/0701australia/index4.html
    Taken in Brisbane, Queensland.

  3. llewelly says:

    Ordinarily – the Daily Mail is so unreliable one should be skeptical if they report anything more unusual than ‘water is wet’. But it’s reported in the torygraph as well.

    In addition – the Australian golden orb weaver and a few other Australian spiders have been known to eat small birds on occasion. There’s also a (much smaller, but still big for a spider) communal spider in the pacific northwest that occasionally eats small birds.

  4. Tabor says:

    The Smithsonian in Wash. DC has a preservered birdeating tarantula in the museum that is really creepy and huge!
    http://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/invertebrates/facts/factsheets/
    goliathbirdeatingtarantula.cfm

  5. Moses says:

    That is so cool.

  6. llewelly — this story has been reported in close to one dozen newspapers around the world. i just grabbed the first photoessay that had pictures guaranteed to give me nightmares.
    oh, and thanks for the additional nightmares, thomas and tabor!