14 Sep '12, 8pm

Guam is entirely infested with spiders, and it’s all the fault of invasive snakes

Guam is entirely infested with spiders, and it’s all the fault of invasive snakes

This is my attempt to illustrate this story without utterly traumatizing anyone. (Photo courtesy of Hollywood Diecast .) The island of Guam has up to 40 times the normal number of spiders — on average, about one spiderweb every two feet during the rainy season. And if that’s not enough, it’s also infested with brown tree snakes. That’s not a coincidence . According to a study published in PLoS , Guam’s spider explosion comes from its lack of bug-eating birds, which in turn comes from its overabundance of the invasive snakes, which were introduced to the island in the 1940s. On the one hand, this sucks for Guam — they’ve lost 10 of 12 native bird species, and all they got in return is snakes and spiders. It’s like the middle of a Disney movie, before the hero arrives to scare off the witch. On the other hand, it’s good news for the scientists, who at least get to use the is...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/guam-is-entirely-infested-with-spid...

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