Are urban spiders bigger than their country cousins? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Are urban spiders bigger than their country cousins?

Are city spiders bigger? Are city spiders bigger?
SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

Spiders are getting bigger, but only in urban areas.That's comforting, isn't it?

The study was done in Sydney, Australia, but if it's true there, is it true in East Texas too? I recently filmed a monster-sized spider at a city municipal building.

The University of Sydney found that spiders are getting larger in urban areas because of the warmer concrete environment and available prey. 

U.T. Tyler's Dr. Blake Bextine is a biologist and knows a thing or two about spiders.

“Making large-reaching solutions from a single study is not really the best way to look at scientific information,” Bextine said. “The spiders that were in urban environments where there was a lot more concrete and a lot more surface area that heats up leading to a little bit warmer temperatures spiders seemed to grow larger. Although the growth was not super-dramatic, there weren't spiders that were the size of people or anything like that.” 

Blake says the spiders had more to eat and less around to eat them, so big-city spiders really are slightly bigger city spiders because they can get fat and end up with more eggs. But have they mutated?

“They're not changing, there's no speciation event that is occurring, but rather they're put in an environment where they thrive,” Bextine added.

But what about my spider?

“Yeah, that's a good-sized spider,” he said.

Big, but not gigantic; the good doctor says spiders can get to at most 12 inches across because of the way they are built. In our area, we've had a lot of rain that results in more vegetation and more bugs, which means more food.

So, is the big, urban spider a big, urban myth? It will take time and more studies to tell.

Dr. Bextine says that even if spiders get bigger, it doesn't mean they will become more toxic or more venomous. He also warned to watch out for a couple of local spiders that have bad bites: the brown recluse and the black widow.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.
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