Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Black Widow Spiders Bring Their Venom to Canada As Planet Warms



By Rafi Letzter, Staff Writer | August 13, 2018 07:21am ET

Venomous black widow spiders now range farther north than scientists expected, into an area including the most-inhabited parts of Canada. And there's good reason to suggest that warming temperatures are driving the fatal biters north.

That's one conclusion of a new study, published online Wednesday (Aug. 8) in the journal PLOS One. The researchers in this study were trying to identify the geographical ranges of animals using citizen science and other spotty data sources. They focused on two spider species: the northern black widow (Latrodectus variolus) and the black purse-web spider (Sphodros niger). The scientists found that data taken between 1990 and 2016 showed a black widow range extending 58 miles (94 kilometers) farther north than the northernmost observation from the period between 1960 and 1989. They suggested that black widows might already range another 30 miles (50 km) north to the Montreal area, though none have yet been reported in that region. [Creepy, Crawly & Incredible: Photos of Spiders]

The team could not conclusively demonstrate that climate change has pushed the spiders north. But a number of their findings strongly suggest that's the case, the wrote:



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