- the anti-invertebrate, pro-tetrapod bias in contemporary culture, and
- the unfairness that Vonda McIntyre wrote Dreamsnake around the conceit of bioengineering snakes to administer medicinal does of poisons... thereby squandering an opportunity to rehabilitate the reputations of scorpions, spiders, centipedes and one species of basal crustacean.
Sensory deprivation tank: Doin it rong
1. The surrent holder of the title of "World's most poisonous spider" is the Six-eyed sand-crab spider Sicarius sp. In animal tests, its cytotoxic, haemorrhagic venom kills rabbits through internal bleeding and general ooze in the manner of Ebola virus. Fortunately its life-style is such as to minimise contact with humans other than Cameron Slater, i.e. it lurks under flat rocks. Newlands and Atkinson only managed to find two reported cases of probable Sicarius envenomation where the victims showed the expected symptoms of liquefaction in the absence of multiple bites by cobras and rattlesnakes.
homeopathic dose of Ebola. In fact that is the plot of a forthcoming Japanese horror movie.
Sicarius seldom eats -- it can survive two years without food -- so conversely, a highly-diluted dose of ground-up spider is an obvious homeopathic remedy for anorexia.
3. Canadian spiders are weird.
does backflips and cartwheels, after watching too many Wuxia movies convinced it that it can thereby evade the weapons of its enemies. It remains to be seen whether its bite will bestow acrobatic superpowers.
The Acrobat's ExercisesLet the record show that 'agorabat' and 'claustrobat' are names for performers of daring feats in wide-open spaces and confined spaces respectively, and if the lexicographers say otherwise than they are PART OF THE CONSPIRACY TO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH.
been in the news lately [h/t ITTDGY]. Here is the New Zealand fishing spider, Dolomedes aquaticus.
The Whackyweedia entry lacks a description of its fishing techniques (we would edit it ourselves, but for some reason the Whacky administrators have blocked the Riddled IP address). The North Island subspecies ties its own lures from feathers and strips of shiny plastic. South Island populations lack the aesthetic instinct and prefer to stun the fish with a stick of C4.
Attempts to prosecute fishing spiders for catching rainbow trout without a license have all failed, with the courts accepting the defense that the indigenous status of D. aquaticus exempts it from fish-&-game legislation.
6. Canadian spiders are not only weird, but dangerously adept in their mimicry skills.