Operation Spider, Citizen Science - University of South Australia

Uploaded by UniSouthAustralia on 09.09.2010


Spiders are amongst the world's most
fascinating and extraordinary animals.
Spiders evolved about 400 million years ago.
We now have tens of thousands of species of spiders
across the world, but they all share some common characteristics.
All spiders are hunters, they will
attack and consume large numbers of bugs, of insects
and they're very important in controlling the numbers of invertebrates.
Spiders hunt in a number of different ways
some are "sit and wait" predators
others make a web and trap their prey
yet others will throw lines of silk
onto prey as they move past.
Spiders have an extraordinary physiology.
Their lungs are located in their abdomens.
Spiders will have mulitple eyes and they have lenses like we do
and have extraordinary vision.
They have a brain about 30 percent of the size of their body
and they need a huge brain simply to
control their legs as they move around the place.
Hello, my name's Mike, I run the Discovery Centre
at the South Australian Museum.
That's an area where people can bring things into the Museum
and we regularly get spiders of all sorts
People find spiders in their gardens, in the bush,
in their shed, wherever, but people are fascinated by spiders
even if they don't like them, they tend to be fascinated by them
and want to know what they are and whether they're poisonous.

Having citizens assist scientists means that
we can collect data over large geographic areas
for instance, Operation Spider is collecting information
from around South Australia.
The Globe at Night Project is collecting data worldwide
or we can collect data from places that are typically difficult
to access, like people's back gardens
that are an important habitat for the wildlife species
that we've been studying.

Some of the main spiders that get brought into the museum are
Trapdoor Spiders, people find them in the garden
and instantly recognise them as being a dangerous spider
which they're not.
They live in a hole in the ground, they feed on
crickets and cockroaches and various other pests
that we have in the garden.
Another one that we get in the Adelaide Hills is called a Mouse Spider
it lives for three years, at that point it reaches
maturity and then it goes wandering around looking for a mate.
We also get quite a number of Wolf Spiders
they're probably the most common spider that we get around.
There are a number of different species of Wolf Spiders
ranging in size from around about the size of a pin head
right up to a leg span that might be anything up to 100 millimetres.
You won't see them in the day time unless you
actually dig them up in the garden.
So, there are thousands of species of spiders
across the country and across the globe
and you will have many different sorts in your house
and in your garden, some you may not even know are there.
So go outside, go look for them and see what
wonderful spiders and see what they're doing in your backyard.

Importantly, Citizen Science projects increase
knowledge and experience in the community
and these are two things that can help change
attitudes and behaviors of the six and a half billion
plus people on the planet.
So, while they are engaged and learning
about the environment and about science
they're also helping scientists to collect data
or to analyse data and to understand how the
environment is changing.
So get involved in Citizen Science projects
for yourself, for the community and for science
it makes a difference.