- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Ironically, some folks proclaim their hatred or disgust for all things spiders throughout the year, but when the Halloween season arrives, they're thinking webs, fangs and eight legs as perfect decor for their door.
And to scare the bejeezus out of trick-or-treaters, the postal employee (who goes postal), cousins (who become distant) and other folks approaching the front porch who wish they hadn't.
So, it's good to see the Bohart Museum of Entomology come up with a "Got Legs?" spider t-shirt in its gift shop this week. It's a trapdoor spider, or what arachnologist Jason Bond of UC Davis studies. Bond is the associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. In June, 2022, he co-hosted the American Arachnological Society's "Eight-Legged Encounters" conference at UC Davis. The focus on spiders also included a Bohart Museum's open house, "Eight-Legged Wonders!"
"We designed it together and Francisco did the art," Keller said.
"I think it's fantastic," said Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and a UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology. "I haven't seen any other t-shirts featuring spiders like this."
The gift shop offers the spider t-shirt in both youth and adult sizes. The youth t-shirt glows in the dark.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. Named for UC Davis professor and noted entomologist Richard Bohart, it is open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays. The insect-themed gift shop, stocked with t-shirts, hoodies, books, posters, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and more, is open year-around and is also online.
Now back to spiders. We remember asking Professor Bond five good reasons why folks should like spiders. (See Bug Squad blog)
- Spiders consume 400-800 million tons of prey, mostly insects, each year. Humans consume somewhere around 400 million tons of meat and fish each year.
- Spider silk is one of the strongest naturally occurring materials. Spider silk is stronger than steel, stronger and more stretchy than Kevlar; a pencil thick strand of spider silk could be used to stop a Boeing 747 in flight.
- Some spiders are incredibly fast – able to run up to 70 body lengths per second (10X faster than Usain Bolt).
- Athough nearly all 47,000-plus spider species have venom used to kill their insect prey, very few actually have venom that is harmful to humans.
- Some spiders are really good parents –wolf spider moms carry their young on their backs until they are ready to strike out on their own; female trapdoor spiders keep their broods safe inside their burrows often longer than one year, and some female jumping spiders even nurse their spiderlings with a protein rich substance comparable to milk.
Spiders rock! And yes, they got legs...
Eight. Of. Them.