TIL city spiders are getting bigger, a study found that when spiders lived in urban areas they increased in size and had larger ovaries: Scientists have found increasing evidence that the selective pressures of city living are driving “physical and biological changes” in urban wildlife

Read more: https://theconversation.com/city-spiders-are-getting-bigger-but-thats-a-good-thing-30605

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  1. >In a study published today in PLOS ONE, we show that city living is leading to bigger spiders that have the potential to produce more young. We studied golden orb weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) which are found along the east coast of Australia. Compared to their relatives in the bush, we found that city-dwelling orb weavers were bigger and had larger ovaries.

    >We collected these spiders from parks, gardens and bushland patches and investigated differences in the spiders’ body sizes, fat reserves and ovary weights. The study found that when spiders lived in urban areas they increased in size and had larger ovaries, indicating increased reproductive capacity.
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    >There were strong associations in particular between spider size and the presence of hard surfaces (such as roads and buildings) and lack of vegetation. These hard surfaces contribute to the urban “heat island” effect, which makes it warmer in cities than surrounding areas.
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    >It is also likely that there is more food for the spiders in the city as a result of night lighting and increased resources. This combination of warm temperatures and more food would allow spiders to put more energy towards growth and reproduction. Fewer predators and parasites in urban areas could also allow urban spiders to grow larger.

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