Photographing a spider's fangs


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Spiders don’t bother me at all, but if I was an arachnophobe…wow. You might want to consider moving that pic below the cut.

Yes, I know, I know, we’re all overprivileged, oversensitive, cotton-swaddled adult infants who should man and/or woman up, but still…

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That’s an impressive set of fangs, there. Nature can be pretty slick.

It obviously has none of the visceral punch; but what’s really disconcerting is that the myriad subtly engineered venom proteins that those brutally elegant fangs are prepped to deliver are vastly more elegant, sophisticated, and precise than their delivery mechanism.

Being able to grow a couple of syringes on your face is a neat trick; but having venom sacs that ‘know’ more about disruption of life-critical cellular functions than some chemical warfare PhDs without even bringing consciousness and general-purpose cognition to the game is just plain scary.


The wonder of evolution is that such elegant complexity can evolve without intentionality. Even our human intentionality evolved without intentionality, which may be the greatest wonder of all.

Have I used the word ‘intentionality’ enough in this comment? No. Intentionality.

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Well, technology certainly helps to creep me out much more efficiently. And I like spiders.

posting in this thread before catgrin.


It never ceases to amaze me how elegant the results of cycles of mutation and selection are for brute-forcing fascinating solutions in the face of massive search spaces.

Even in areas where one would naively suspect that you can just throw some math at it, genetic algorithms come up with some crazy stuff. “Evolved Antennas”, for instance are some of the weirdest and most unintuitive looking RF emitters you could ever hope to meet, not the sort of thing a human would design; but they work. Well.

That IS a great shot! LOVE IT!!!

Some spiders are better than others about doing displays, and that plus size makes for an easier camera target. Sydney Funnel Web spiders aren’t small, and they have prominent fangs. Here’s a scale pic, so people will have a better idea of their size. (It’s not me in the photo.)

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The fangs of a funnel-web spider are very strong—they can pierce through shoe leather and fingernails.

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The zoom feature on that pic is what makes it. Quick, someone make it into a GIF. I have people to distress…

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When my brother and were kids we used to make scrap books of pictures like that I remember a full page photo of a turantula. Too bad that stuff got pitched 40 years ago because it would have been cool just to see all those old photos from Look and Life and the Saturday Evening Post.


I used to have a real problem, being alarmed when coming across pictures of spiders when flipping pages of books or magazines. This pic may have cured me.

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