Arachna, a Greek word that means spider, also appears in the context of Greek mythology. As the myth tells us, Arachne of Lydia was a Greek woman who became such a skilled weaver that she ventured to challenge the goddess Athena, who was also a great weaver, to a contest. The goddess wove a tapestry […]
Most Millipedes live in the tropics, usually in damp places: in the soil or rotting wood; in clumps of moss; under rocks, logs, or fallen leaves; or in other protected sites. Many different kinds of millipedes occur in America north of Mexico. As with the centipedes, most millipedes live in the tropics, but about 100 […]
Spiders don’t really fly; they “balloon” through the air on a long, fine strand of silk. Young, newly hatched spiders, surrounded by scores or even hundreds of their brothers and sisters that hatched from the same egg mass, must disperse in order to avoid overcrowding. Spiders of some species disperse by ballooning. A spider that […]
Some mites occupy both of a moth’s ears because they live only in the outer part of the ear and do not deafen it by destroying its sensory structures. Sometimes these mites occupy only one of the moth’s ears, often because only one mite boarded the moth.
Mites are important to people and the ecosystem as a whole. Before we consider how they affect us adversely, we should recognize that the good that they do as a group far outweighs the harm that they do to us. On the plus side, mites are important and often essential components of the ecosystems that […]
Spiders copulate or reproduce in a very unusual way. They have evolved the nicety of internal fertilization, but since the males don’t have a penis, they use their pedipalps, the arm-like “feelers” adjacent to the mouth, to place their sperm into the body of the female. The tip of the pedipalp, which works like a […]
Crab spiders, which do not spin webs, are ambushers that seize their prey when it comes close. Some species wait in ambush on blossoms to catch such nectar seeking insects as bees and butterflies that land on the blossom. A well-camouflaged ambusher is likely to be more successful than a conspicuous one that is easily […]
Chiggers can cause a rash known as chigger dermatitis; the skin, especially of the legs and waist, is speckled with rather large, raised, red spots that itch ferociously and are caused by the feeding activity of those tiny mites. Chiggers do not suck blood and, contrary to popular belief, they do not burrow in the […]
Scorpions are found in warm climates, often in arid areas. In the United States scorpions are found in the southwestern and the southeastern states. In the east, one species gets as far north as the southern tip of Illinois. Scorpions are found widely distributed over all continents, except Antarctica, in a variety of terrestrial habitats […]
The nests of most species of birds are occupied by mites. Some of these mites are a benign presence, scavengers that eat only organic debris in the nest, but others are parasites that suck blood from the occupants of the nest. The nest of a starling may harbor as many as 80,000 tiny, blood-sucking mites.