Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Argiope revisited

After overwintering, the egg sac of the spider featured in this post has opened to reveal the hatched young. Few will make it to adulthood, and some of those which will, namely the males, will be devoured as a post-coital snack by the comparatively huge female.

Juveniles of Argiope lobata Pallas, 1772 - Siġġiewi
The species in question, Argiope lobata Pallas, 1772, is also being investigated as the source of the therapeutically useful toxins it produces to kill its prey.

Molecule of A. lobata's argiotoxin ArgTX-636, from Wikipedia
The photograph of the juvenile spiders comes courtesy of Mr. Patrick Tabone.

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