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A Belgian University wants you to send it photos of spiders

The photos will be used to investigate a theory that dark spiders take on a lighter colour at higher temperatures in the city. Credit: creative commons

Researchers at the University of Ghent have launched a call for people to send in as many photos of spiders as possible using the specially developed ‘Spiderspotter‘ app.

These photos will then be used to investigate a theory that dark spiders take on a lighter colour at higher temperatures in the city.

The researchers say that dark spiders absorb more heat than their lighter colleagues. By comparing the colour of city spiders with those in the countryside, the scientists hope to determine if they evolve differently to adapt to the five-degree temperature difference between the areas.

“Anyone who enters a dark car on a radiant summer’s day knows how much such a car can heat up”, said the call for photos, reported by Het Nieuwsblad. “Much more than a white one, which reflects a large part of the sunlight.”

This same principle gives rise to the suspicion that spiders in a warm environment protect themselves against the heat by adopting a lighter colour.

In addition to the spider colour, the researchers are also interested in photographs and measurements of cobwebs. They suspect that these are more finely meshed in the city, because prey animals are smaller there.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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