Along Came a Spider, presented by Louis Sorkin, BCE, Entsult Associates, Inc.

Posted: December 5, 2012 in New York Pest Expo
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We had another outstanding presentation from Lou Sorkin at the 10th edition of the New York Pest Expo. He was generous enough to share with us his knowledge and experience with spiders.

Louis Sorkin BUg Off Pest Control Center New York Pest ExpoTo start, Lou passed around a shed spider skin for everyone to observe. It was fully intact and looked like a live spider. This was just a teaser to introduce the audience to the anatomy of the spider.

Spiders have only two body segments instead of three: a fused head and thorax (cephalothorax) and an abdomen. They have 8 legs and usually 8 eyes. They grab their food with the chelicerae. Some chelicerae are hollow and contain venom glands. They use these glands to inject venom into their prey. In the abdomen there are spinnerets. They produce the silk that spiders spin into a web and trap their prey.

Most spiders need to consume liquid food. To prepare their meal they usually capture their prey in their web then come upon it and pierce it with their fang. They inject venom into the victim and then begin sucking out the fluid.  They may need to break their prey down more using enzymes and, in some cases, their chelicerae to help the process along.

There are many varieties of spiders and each is fascinating. Take the crab spider for instance. It takes on the color of flowers to better blend in and sneak up on its prey. Or wolf spiders. The female wolf spider will carry her egg sac on spinnerets. Once the young hatch they climb up on her back and travel on her. And then there’s the peacock spider.  It has a brilliantly colored abdomen and when it wants to impress the ladies it flips it up and shows it off.

No spider presentation is complete without a mention of the tarantula. Tarantulas have maternal instincts. They try to protect their young by covering them with the body when something foreign is introduced. They are also quite appetizing. Some cultures fry them. Just remember though; only eat fried tarantulas that have had their urticating hairs removed. Otherwise, it will make for a not so pleasant meal.

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