Newly-discovered spider deemed most beautiful

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Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/08/newly-discovered-spider-deemed.html

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#2

"Well, helloooo…"

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#3

jpeg

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#4

You know what’s more beautiful?

No spider.

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#5

JHC! What @Boundegar said!

From the linked article:

Peacock parachute spider

“This large (about 20cm across) tarantula [Poecilotheria metallica] , is named after its purply-blue, metallic legs and its habit of jumping down from trees. It is a common misconception that large spiders are not typically venomous, says Robertson; this one “can deliver quite a painful bite as it parachutes on to the top of your head,” says Robertson. “Luckily,” he adds – “well, not luckily” – it is extremely rare, and found only in a small area of India.”

I don’t care how beautiful that one is as I am crossing off that part of India from ANY future travels…

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#6

If you need me I will be on a different continent.

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#7

But can they do this?:

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#8

Oh man, I was going to say that’s a much more beautiful spider. But then reading that size it just becomes too creepy, even for an arachnophile like myself.

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#9

It’s very blue.

Why is blue so rare in nature?

Update: why:

Short answer: physics and molecular orbital theory.

Long answer:
Pigment based colours work like this. All molecules have electrons, those electrons lie in their lowest-energy states, but they can be excited to higher energy levels by photons. If a photon bumps an electron up to a higher level, that photon of exactly that energy gets absorbed, but all other photons of all other energies pass through. You observe what’s left. If a pigment absorbs violet photons, you see the colour complementary to violet, which is yellow. If a pigment absorbs both violet and red photons, you’ll see the colours in between: OYGCB, which you’ll perceive as green.

For you to observe blue, the pigment needs to absorb orange, but no other colours in the higher-energy range of the visible spectrum. No yellow or green or cyan or violet absorption, or else the perceived colour is skewed. So it has to absorb one specific type of photon, and excite electrons by about 2 eV, but there cannot be any other energy levels above it: no other places to excite the electron at 2.2 or 2.4 or 2.5 or 3.0 eV, just the one excited state at 2eV and nothing else.

That’s very hard to do. Most molecular structures will give you lots of excited states that are relatively close together. It requires some unusually restrictive structural features in the molecule to limit the excited states like that. And it’s difficult for Nature to synthesize those molecules.

That’s not a problem for other colours. You want yellow? Fine. Absorb violet. And absorb everything above it, too, but that’s UV and humans can’t see it. You want green? Fine? Absorb red and also absorb violet, leave the green. Multiple excited states at 2.0 and 3.0 eV, no problem. But just absorb orange and nothing else? Tricky.

wsmcneil (thx. @wsmcneil)

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#10

its funny how when judging beauty in animals or objects we often give great merit to its uniqueness, but often when judging humans we prefer (in a sense) conformity.

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#11

We?

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#12

Spiders can be beautiful…just over there…way over there.

I am not afraid of them like my daughter (she is absolutely terrified of spiders…full on phobia)…but I am no fan of them as a general rule of thumb. I feel anything that small (compared to a human) that has ZERO FEAR of said human should not be trusted.

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#13

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#14

They’d better NOT be bigger than my thumb!

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#15

You’ll never get superpowers with that attitude. :wink:

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#16

I’ve had tarantulas and wolf spiders bigger than my thumb on me at various times (backpacking and military days spent in the woods).

Biggest scare I got was a brown recluse skittering across my foot while I was in the shower when on field exercises.

Edit: @GulliverFoyle Mine will come from good ol fashioned latent mutant genes and government experimentation TYVM.

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#17

Jumping spiders are the only spiders I like. The rest can die. >:)

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#18

I think those powers might be over-rated…

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#19

Obligs…

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#20

I’m not sure I’d watch that show…

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