The world's oldest known spider has died


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/27/the-worlds-oldest-known-spid.html


#3

But still, she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.


#4


#5

So, 43 has become spiders’ new 28.


#6

In the future, every time I think of getting off the couch I’m going to think to myself; “Wow, a 43 year old spider!”


#7

I think the official first spider in Tolkein’s world was Shelob’s precursor, the one for which the pass of Cirith Ungol* was named…

Ungoliant


#8

So, like, how do you track a spider’s age? Do they put some kind of micro-tracking device on it, like you would a shark or something?


#9

Growth rings


#10

Maybe they cut it open and count the rings.

Truth is, I can’t find it. The article summaries don’t say and the study is 25 bucks. Some web references imply that you might be able to count the number of times a spider has moulted, and estimate age that way. Particular species might have characteristics which always increase with age, like counting the number of wrinkles on the face of a human, I suppose.


#11

Yeah, sure :wink:


#12

Actually there are some references on the web that say that the webs built by spiders do change with age and size but I think a lot of that is determining when a spider has reached maturity, not when they are approaching old age.


#13

came here hoping for Shelob and Ungoliant references. i’m so happy.


#14

And this just 5 days after the death of the world’s oldest woman, Nabi Tajima. There’s no way this is a coincidence. I have it on good authority that Tajima and the spider were psychically linked through the subatomic etherium. The proof is locked in a shadow government vault underneath the Bonneville Salt Flats.


#15

Killed by a rolled-up newspaper?


#16

Your science may be sound, I was just going for the “web” pun…


#17

This spider was on its last leg for a while…


#18

Poor spiderbro. Requiescat in pace.


#19

Spidersis.


#20

It was part of a population study. I’m guessing researchers have been keeping tabs on this specific spider for that whole time. Trap door spiders don’t exactly go roaming much.


#21

I was speaking, of course, in the gender neutral “dude” sense.