According the latest research, scientists are convinced that the black widow spider DNA can be found on webs. The black widow is known as the venomous and apparently evil female spider that kills and eats its partner after mating.
What does the research say
The study was conducted by a team of scientists in Indiana at the University of Notre Dame. The experiments were made on spiders at Potawatomi Zoo. The findings showed that it is not necessary to catch a spider in order to take a sample of its DNA, as DNA traces can be found on the web it has woven.
What is even more interesting is that not only you can analyze the spider’s DNA, but you also have access to the DNA of its victims. In this way, you can find out what the black widow has been eating for the past few weeks or whether the spider was eaten by a predator such as a bird or maybe a lizard.
On this spider’s regular menu can be found mosquitoes, caterpillars, flies, crickets and many others. And of course, let’s not forget its own kind for the female spider. The female black widow spider is twice as large as the male and the species is the most venomous in North America.
Past vs. Present studies
The findings are making researchers’ work a lot easier. In the past, they had to collect DNA samples directly from the spiders. The process used to rely mostly on morphology and it involved looking the spider’s genitalia in order to identify them. It appears the genital area is the spider’s body part that differentiates it from other species of spiders. Therefore, this sample collecting could turn out to be dangerous for both human and spider.
Now, having the possibility to find out the exact same information simply by analyzing the web of the spider makes the job easier and definitely less invasive. Being so big, the black widow spider can weave huge intricate webs which are also very strong. In these webs, the poisonous spider can lay a cocoon of eggs and can also trap its pray.
All in all, although black widow spiders are extremely venomous and dangerous, scientists can now easily study them without being put at risk and without harming the spiders in any way.
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