Label: Spiders

August 31, 2011









For the past twenty years, a rare group of spiders in Britain have been in danger of becoming extinct. Their natural habitat had become endangered due to the development of towns and the conversion of their environment to farm land. These beautiful spiders are called ladybird spiders in England – because the males have bright red bodies with 4 big black spots on them (much like the insect that we call the ladybug here in the U.S).









When British wildlife experts realized their local population had dwindled to just 56 spiders, they realized it was time to find them a new home! They started by collecting the spiders and allowing them to mate in captivity, so that their numbers could grow. Now, they’ve started introducing the spiders back into the wild. They’ve placed the spiders in a site that’s already home to 240 other species of spiders and hundreds of other insects. What’s interesting is that they’ve introduced the ladybird spiders to this area by placing them in recycled plastic bottles! These bottles are filled with heather and moss to resemble the spiders’ past environment and when the spider is ready to move out, it can crawl out of the bottle and find a suitable new home. Here’s hoping their group gets bigger and we get to see many more of these beautiful spiders in the future!

 Would YOU like to see one? I would!


Read lots more about spiders in these Seymour Simon books:

  Animals Nobody Loves








Photo Credits:

Image 1: Maarten Bos/Flickr 

Image 2: Ian Hughes 




Posted by: Liz Nealon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Conservation, Insects, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)

May 16, 2011

I visited my friend Max and his family this weekend. Max is a first grader who loves to know everything he can about arachnids…..that is the scientific word for spiders. I thought he (and probably lots of my other readers!) would like this science news story about Tarantulas and how they climb safely.

Tarantulas are quite heavy, at least for spiders. They can weigh up to 1.75 ounces (50 grams), and their bodies are very delicate. So, climbing is possibly one of the riskiest things an adult tarantula can do. "They wouldn’t survive a fall from any height," explains Claire Rind, an arachnologist from the University of Newcastle, England. Rind ran a series of experiments, putting tarantulas into an aquarium, tilting it straight up, and then using slow motion microphotography to film the spiders’ feet as they held on. She also used a microscope to look at the moulted exoskeletons from her Mexican flame knee tarantula, Fluffy (yes, she saved them all!), and discovered tiny, silk-producing openings all over the spider’s feet.

She discovered that when a tarantula slips, it saves itself by shooting silk threads out of its feet to grasp the surface it is climbing. Sound like anybody you’ve ever heard of?


Photo: International Society of Arachnology

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)

March 28, 2011

This week I received letters from Chonlatorn S. and Alejandro D., both students at Rue Elementary School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They had just read my book, ANIMALS NOBODY LOVES, and they were writing to defend the octopus, coyote, and other animals they think should not be in this book because they are not dangerous to humans. Chanlatorn wrote: "When skunks are in danger they will spray on you. They don’t bite you." I agree with both of these readers that no one needs to be afraid of these animals. In fact, that is one of the reasons I wrote the book!

Let me tell you about two Texas students I met last month who really go to extraordinary lengths to teach other students about "animals that nobody loves." Courtney (14) and Erik (12) are homeschooled, and I met them when they came to one of my presentations at a local school. This sister and brother work with an entomologist (pronounced en-toh-MAH-loh-gist, a scientist who specializes in the study of insects) and have started their own business, called NOT SO CREEPY CRITTERS. 












Courtney and Erik, pictured above, told me that this all started because they wanted to help other kids get over feelings of arachnophobia (ah-RACK-no-FO-bia, meaning "fear of spiders"). Spiders do much more good than harm, eating insects that damage crops and other plants. And as Courtney and Erik have learned, some of them even make interesting pets!

This brother and sister team do presentations in classrooms and at kid events, and they introduce their audience to a wide variety of "not so creepy creatures." Their traveling menagerie of live creatures includes 4 colorful tarantulas, 2 different scorpion species, Bearded Dragon, centipede, a snake, Leopard Gecko, Blue-Tongued Skink, Peppered Roaches and Madagascar Hissing Roaches! Last summer they wrote a book, and they are working hard to continue growing their business. They tell me that fainting goats and chickens are next on their list!

Courtney and Eric are well-mannered, dedicated defenders of creepy critters, and they have also built a very informative and interesting website. Check out the section called Arachnids for lots of fascinating spider photographs, and Critter Facts, where you are challenged to decide whether a statement is a fact, or simply an opinion.




Posted by: Seymour Simon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Animals Nobody Loves, Animals, School Visits, Kids comments, Insects, Spiders, Facts and Fables   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 11, 2009

Dear Seymour,

Thank you for the spider book!!! I like the cover. I think the book is molting, look at the picture. I love tarantulas. What do black widow’s fangs look like?




Posted by: Liz Nealon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Kids Write, Seymour Simon, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)

November 10, 2009

Herbivory discovered in a spider


(—There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders in the world, all of which have been thought to be strict predators that feed on insects or other animals. Now, scientists have found that a small Central American jumping spider has a uniquely different diet: the species Bagheera kiplingi feeds predominantly on plant food.


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 21, 2009

Spiders are one of the most familiar animals in the natural world, but many people don’t know much about them. Lisa McPherson’s Class at Cold Water Elementary in Missouri is learning all about spiders from Seymour’s book. Did you know that spiders can be found less than twelve feet from where you are, right now! They live all over, in gardens, in the ground,  in leaf litter, under tree bark, in freshwater streams, and… right in your house.

Welcome to the world of spiders!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 21, 2009


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animal Books, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 21, 2009


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: Animal Books, School Visits, Teachers and Librarians, Spiders   •  Permalink (link to this article)