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Old 04-24-2009, 10:31 PM   #1
Jacqui D
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Default The happy face spider!

This really intrigued me, at first i thought it wasn't for real, obviously it's striking face like features are for protection against predators, it kind of makes you feel a little less frightened lol!

British scientists study Hawaiian happy face spider
Scientists have found themselves raising a smile when studying this creature - the happy face spider.


Last Updated: 2:22PM BST 22 Apr 2009

Scientists think the spider, which has the scientific name Theridion grallator and is harmless to humans, has evolved the patterns to confuse predators. Photo: CATERS The spider, which measures just a few millimetres across, has developed bizarre markings giving the appearance of a smiling face.

Scientists think the spider, which has the scientific name Theridion grallator and is harmless to humans, has evolved the patterns to confuse predators.


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Dr Geoff Oxford, a spider expert from the University of York, said: "I must admit when I turned over the first leaf and saw one it certainly brought a smile to my face.

"There are various theories as to why the spider has developed the markings it has, one of these that it may be to confuse predators.

"When a bird or other predator first sees a prey item it has not seen before there is a moment before it decides whether to eat it or not.

"It may be that this spider has developed these variations to take advantage of this, in the moment the predator is deciding if it is food it may have the chance to escape.

"I don't think the smiling face is enough to put off a bird though, but it would be nice to think so. Not all happy-face spiders have such striking markings, and some are nearly all orange or all blue.

"The species is only found high in the rainforests of Hawaii and are under threat from the introduction of animals not native to the islands."

Dr Oxford, who has been studying the spiders since 1993, said that the unusual markings of the arachnid had made them a symbol of all of Hawaii's threatened wildlife.

"They are ambassadors for all the threatened invertebrates, insects and spiders on Hawaii," he said.

"Conservationists are using them to highlight the plight of native species and you can't go far on the islands without seeing them on T-shirts, baseball caps, post cards and even removal trucks.

"The Hawaiian fauna is being threatened by all the human-imported species of animals and plants that establish there each year.

"Sadly most of the plants and animals in lowland areas of Hawaii are non-native and one has to go up into the rainforest to find the native species."
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Old 04-24-2009, 10:48 PM   #2
oldpaganfreak
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Default Re: The happy face spider!

we have a species of spider up here with a happy face too. they love webbing in window corners and kill a lot of flies. we never bother them. over the summer, they'll get to 'quarter' size, with the body nickel size. pretty big in the corner of the kitchen window though, but they're great to watch. when a fly hits their web, they're there in no time and wrap them up mummy-like in silk and come back when they're juicier.
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Old 04-25-2009, 02:06 AM   #3
BROOK
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Default Re: The happy face spider!

OMG...my greatest fear..SPIDERS

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Old 04-25-2009, 06:07 AM   #4
J_rod7
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Talking Re: The happy face spider!

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Hi Jacqui, Best greetings every-won-ah-we,

Now THAT's an interesting spider.
There are really many strange species, a lot we haven't even found yet.
I DO hope we get to greet them before they all go extinct.

Here are some from Antarctica, DEEP DOWN in the cold-cold sea...







The world,as we know it, gets stranger every day.

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Old 04-25-2009, 10:48 AM   #5
Jacqui D
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Default Re: The happy face spider!

Oldpaganfreak,, spiders do a wonderful job i know but still give me the creeps, this one however would bring a smile to my face i feel if i saw him hanging there, excuse the pun but it would seem a little like the cat got the cream sitting in his web spinning all those flies and just waiting for the right time to devour eeeuuuuu!!!!!
Thanks for the pic Brook that one made me laugh.
Nice pics J Rod yes i have to agree we do not know yet what is under the sea and probably never will!
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