back to article Little spider makes big-spider-puppet CLONE of itself out of dirt

Meet the adroit arachnid that makes a decoy “spider” in its web to mislead predators – and jiggles the strands like a puppet master to make the miniature marionette move. No, really, that's according to conservation biologist Phil Torres, anyway. His full story is here, the spider is apparently alive and well in the Amazon, …

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  1. Semaj
    Thumb Up

    I'd love to see a time lapse video of the whole process. If this isn't fake it'd be amazing to watch.

    1. Andrew Newstead

      I agree, not to see proof but just to see how it works. Things like this fascinate me.

      The natural world is full of engineers, at all levels!

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Processes akin to 'iterative engineering' perhaps, but not strictly 'engineers'. But hey, I'm loving your enthusiasm for it! : D

        1. Andrew Newstead

          Fair nuff!

    2. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Boffin

      Agreed - 4/1 come late this year? It's not like we've never seen boffins pulling our collective legs before after all...

      1. Bit Brain
        Trollface

        4/1?

        "Agreed - 4/1 come late this year? It's not like we've never seen boffins pulling our collective legs before after all..."

        What does the 4th of January have to do with anything?

        1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
          Thumb Up

          Re: What does the 4th of January have to do with anything?

          Well played. Here, have an upvote from the other side of the pond!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What's special abou the 4th of January?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "What's special abou the 4th of January?"

          Well, you know what they say about assumptions and not using the troll icon. American and international date formats (ISO 8601) are in the format of MM-DD, thus, stop being so pedantic, you know what he means.

          1. Richard Plinston

            American and international date formats (ISO 8601) are in the format of MM-DD,

            Even if that were true (the actual ISO8601 has YYYY-MM-DD), what has it to do with 4/1 ?

            1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
              Thumb Down

              @Richard Plinston

              Missed the part where he said you knew what I meant and to stop being pedantic did you? Right then, sorted.

            2. Frumious Bandersnatch

              ISO 8601

              Upvote for saying what I suspected, that you have to have the YEAR in front. Not only that, but the got the poster delimiter wrong too (slash instead of dash).

              For some reason it really bugs me to see web pages using the MM/DD format for things like, eg, release dates. You have to figure out if it's just another typical USA-ism. It's not just the date format, which I guess their entitled to, but the fact (calling it this based on prima fascie evidence) that they never bother to think that they might have readers outside the US or that they might do something different there.

              Whenever there's any doubt I always try to spell dates out as YYYY-MM-DD (props to Japan for having this as their standard) or spell out the date ("21st Dec" or "Dec 21"). And of course for anything computer related (eg, file naming) big-endian YYYYMMDD is almost always the correct order (adding dashes to taste).

              Anyway, what has all this got to do with 4?

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Nature has an infinite number of these spectaular creations that never fail to amaze.

    Astronomy and deep space research are difficult to grasp or to understand because they are a little "abstract" but here we have something tangible, in your very own back yard if you like,which can be marvelled upon for a lifetime...

    The quantity of information held within atoms/molecules/proteins/genes is just unbelievable.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Happy

    Brilliant

    Now let's hope the creationists don't start using this as "proof" that evolution does not work

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Brilliant

      Like when atheists point at parasitic wasps as 'proof' there is no God? Equally weak arguments.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

        Re: Brilliant

        "Like when atheists point at parasitic wasps as 'proof' there is no God? Equally weak arguments."

        Agreed, I never said there is no God.

        You would need a babelfish to prove that ;-)

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Brilliant

          Indeed

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brilliant

        Do they? How odd. Not one I've come across before.

        Oh well, it's not like religion has a monopoly on idiots.

      3. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: Brilliant

        Like when atheists point at parasitic wasps as 'proof' there is no God? Equally weak arguments.

        For some strange reason after reading this exchange I had the image of a little spider cackling maniacally and then booming out "Where is your God now?!"

        I, for one, welcome out new marionette-wielding insect overlords, etc....

      4. JeffUK
        Mushroom

        Re: Brilliant

        They're proof that if the creationists are right, then God's a bastard, nothing more.

        I've never seen anyone claim they're proof that God does not exist. In fact most Atheists recognise that it's impossible to prove the non-existence of god (hence the cosmic teapot and flying spaghetti monster thought experiments)

        1. cyborg
          Holmes

          Re: Brilliant

          Indeed this is the point: it is not a "proof" that no concept one might label god can exist but the common idea that there's a infinitely loving god (i.e. the one Bible thumpers will bang on about) out there is weaker. It is simply the equivalent of saying, "you haven't even scratched the surface of the idea you think you know so much about to me."

          Of course this is not exactly contraversial since theologians have been knocking that one back and forth since it began.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brilliant

      If only someone would prove that it works first, it would be easier.

      Just because one view is popular among scientists it's not the same as proven. I've come to the conclusion it's just another religion among the others.

      Simple exercise, calculate backwards the population growth till you reach e.g. Mitochondrial Eve. Then read the wiki site and ask your self what consequence should those hypotheses have in our history books if they where correct.

      It's just another form of religion, nothing else.

      1. Francis Boyle

        Stop the presses

        Anonymous person on the internet comes to "conclusion".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stop the presses

          Stating that someone is anonymous does not refute his claims. If someone spoke the truth, it is true know matter who says it. As it turns out, it seems he wrote a rambling bunch of shit.

          1. BorkedAgain
            Happy

            Re: Stop the presses

            @AC 13:24

            Good point, quite true. But you posted it anon, so I don't trust you.

          2. Martin Silver badge
            Headmaster

            ...it is true NO matter who says it....

            Sigh.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Brilliant

        @AC

        Nothing is proven. Even stuff you think is. For example, the internal angles of a triangle do not add up to 180º, but they add up to [180º] * [a function of the area of the triangle]. However the discrepancy between this theory and the actual sum of the angles is less than the diameter of a hydrogen atom if the sides of the triangle are a lightyear in length. Therefore, this discrepancy between Plato's idea and reality does not prevent it being a VERY useful theory.

        Similarly in the case of natural selection, it gives biologists a theory of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, which in turn informs health policy. Not quite replicable and repeatable, but close enough to Occam's Razor and Leary's Reality Tunnels to be getting on with.

        Personally, I believe the world was created 8 minutes ago, and memories I have of the world before then have been placed there by His noodley appendages. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot

        Next!

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: Brilliant

          Ramen

      3. Ian Yates

        Re: Brilliant

        Could you expand on your statement? I really don't get what you're implying.

        Just calculating population growth backwards wouldn't get you anywhere near the correct population for a given year. Just try it to 1900 and tell me what number you get. (Hint: there were some large, unexpected population drops in that period)

        I won't argue that Evolution doesn't have a belief system inherent in it; but then so does gravity. I believe (and hope) that gravity will continue to work today and tomorrow. But calling it a "religion" is hyperbole.

        The key is that the theory of evolution (and gravity) is adjusted based upon what is observed, wereas religious beliefs are used to explain away observations that do not agree with the belief (e.g., "God works in mysterious ways").

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant

          >I believe (and hope) that gravity will continue to work today and tomorrow.

          Yep, 'belief' is a way of making information processing efficient enough for our brains to handle it. If I had to build everything up from a priori sensations every time I made a decision, I wouldn't get anything done. Actually, I probably wouldn't be dissimilar to a newborn baby.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Ichneumon wasp

            @JDX

            Have a read of this, mate:

            http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_nonmoral.html

            The whole ichneumon wasp subject benefits from knowing the context of the arguments at the time (people being threatened by a lack of 'morality' in nature), and in this Professor Gould comments upon the human reactions to it, before concluding:

            [It is amusing in this context, or rather ironic since it is too serious to be amusing, that modern creationists accuse evolutionists of preaching a specific ethical doctrine called secular humanism and thereby demand equal time for their unscientific and discredited views.] If nature is nonmoral, then evolution cannot teach any ethical theory at all. The assumption that it can has abetted a panoply of social evils that ideologues falsely read into nature from their beliefs — eugenics and (misnamed) social Darwinism prominently among them. Not only did Darwin eschew any attempt to discover an antireligious ethic in nature, he also expressly stated his personal bewilderment about such deep issues as the problem of evil. Just a few sentences after invoking the ichneumons, and in words that express both the modesty of this splendid man and the compatibility, through lack of contact, between science and true religion, Darwin wrote to Asa Gray,

            "I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can."

            [Stephen J Gould guest-stared in an episode of the Simpsons as himself, taking money money from Lisa to perform a test he then doesn't carry out, before running off laughing. He was not too proud to portray himself as a fraudster, when in fact he was far from it]

            1. JDX Gold badge

              @Dave 126

              Sorry Dave I've no idea what point you tried to make. I merely commented that atheists feel happy using 'gross' stuff from nature as evidence against a God, while lambasting anyone who suggests the 'pretty' stuff from nature is evidence for a God.

              The downvotes suggest a preponderance of indoctrinated atheists who have learned atheism in exactly the same way many learn their religion... taking someone else's word for it rather than making up their own mind. I'm sure they'll take this post also as being pro-sky-fairy (a term which itself demonstrates an emotive rather than intellectual position on the subject) and downvote in the same way.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Brilliant

          Another typo!

          Its god works in mysterious wheys. This is to remain consistent with cheeses of nazareth and other marketing ploys of early xtians.

          Blessed are the cheesemakers!

      4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Eve and her sisters

        The "Mitochondrial Eve" research isn't saying that their "Eve" didn't have a mother and sisters that we are also descended from and dependent on for some of our DNA. ME is just our shared ancestor on the female side all the way back.

  4. I like noodles
    Joke

    I wonder if

    they're just trying it out to see if it works?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I wonder if

      ...and the spiders are still awaiting a job offer from Jim Henson. The biologists didn't have the heart to tell the spiders that he is no longer with us.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Neil B

    Headsplode.

  7. DAN*tastik
    Stop

    "alive and well in the *Amazon*"

    So is the clone just a clever tax avoiding scheme?

    Taxpayers must know!!!1!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "alive and well in the *Amazon*"

      If they caught him, he wouldn't have a leg to stand on

      ...sorry

  8. Filippo Silver badge

    What the spider is thinking

    "It's ALIVE! They called me mad, but who's laughing now? BWAHAHAHAH!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What the spider is thinking

      more like, 'what's that y'say, incey, you want to climb the water-spout?'

      nay, nay, lad, th' rain'll come down, and wash ya owt.'

    2. Seanie Ryan
      Boffin

      Re: What the spider is thinking

      maybe the spider wanted to take a picture of it and email it to david thorne, in payment for a bill he owed?

      or maybe he was just lonely and wanted a mate, same as humans do... http://www.realdoll.com

      Happy Christmas Everyone

  9. g e
    Holmes

    So, presumably

    The spider knows what it looks like. It's fair to assume it knows what other spiders and creatures look like but the fact it would seem to be aware of its 'self' and its appearance is a step further.

    Of course it might think spiders are scary and, not being aware that it is a spider itself, uses a fake spider as a scarecrow ;o)

    1. Martin Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So, presumably

      I don't think it needs self-knowledge. Over the generations, it just creates random patterns, keeps the ones that work well and works from those - and unsurprisingly it happens that the one pattern that works well looks like a large spider. It's a nice example of evolution in the general sense.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: So, presumably

        I think that might be stretching the random mutations / natural selection mechanisms a bit too far. Suddenly a billion years doesn't quite seem like enough time!

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: So, presumably

          The textbook example of this happening in short time scale is that of moths in England over the historical period known as the Industrial Revolution. Moths (nocturnal, so inactive during daylight) would rest against the bark of trees, appropriately camouflaged to the species of tree they preferred. Soot from the burning of coal ('dark satanic mills') darkened the appearance of trees in many areas, and this placed a strong 'selection pressure' on generations of moths- favouring those that exhibited a mutation that made them darker. Pale moths would be readily seen by birds and promptly eaten.

          This happened in decades, if not years. Moths, like spiders, have many, many offspring.

          If billions of years seems to short a time-scale, please do bear in mind that there are other mechanisms in place- not least sexual reproduction. Sex not only allows beneficial mutations to be shared around, but, in the case of this spider, could also accelerate the process: If a female exhibits a preference for a male spider that makes decoys, her offspring will not only have the genes for that preference, but also the genes for the subject of that preference.

          Also, mutations don't have to create everything 'from scratch' every time... say for example, an animal population had colonised a perfectly cave system... there would no longer be a selection pressure to retain eyes. The genes for the eyes wouldn't be 'deleted', but rather they would no longer be preserved against random mutations- and over many generations the eyes would diminish and disappear. These mutations might be small, but would prevent the eyes from developing. An analogy would be changing a few bytes on your HDD's table of contents that would render it unreadable- but most of the HDD's data is still there. Should this blind animal population find itself in an environment with light, a few mutations over generations might reinstate eyes- the 'building blocks' are still there. By the same process, 'throwbacks' occasionally occur, such as humans with vestigial tails, or Julius Ceasar's five-toed war-horse.

          A mutation might also be along the lines of changing 'Goto 10' to 'Goto 20', and thus place, say, an enzyme in the 'wrong' place. It is thought such a mutation replicated an enzyme found in the eye (to break down foreign substances) into the digestive tract of bovines, allowing them to break down cellulose and thus digest grass.

          It is endlessly fascinating, and I would recommend Stephen J Gould over Richard Dawkins should you want to read more.

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: So, presumably

            The textbook example of this happening in short time scale is that of moths in England over the historical period known as the Industrial Revolution. Moths (nocturnal, so inactive during daylight) would rest against the bark of trees, appropriately camouflaged to the species of tree they preferred. Soot from the burning of coal ('dark satanic mills') darkened the appearance of trees in many areas, and this placed a strong 'selection pressure' on generations of moths- favouring those that exhibited a mutation that made them darker. Pale moths would be readily seen by birds and promptly eaten.

            This happened in decades, if not years. Moths, like spiders, have many, many offspring.

            Sorry but you simply don't understand evolution. The much-vaunted moths example isn't evolution. It is simply a case where there were already two versions of the same organism, and changed circumstances suddenly made one of them at a severe disadvantage. That took months because both types already existed. That is natural selection, not evolution. An emergent new behaviour - from a regular spider to one which makes a fake spider - is a totally different proposition. This takes a LOT of time.

            I was nowhere suggesting evolution doesn't occur by the way. Merely that some examples really make it seem that the long time scales are actually not that long at all when it is randomly driven.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So, presumably

              you simply don't understand evolution

              He understands it quite a lot better than you, that's for sure.

              Evolution by means of natural selection

      2. jai

        Re: So, presumably

        but if the shape is chosen through trial and error, then that would suggest that arachnophobia isn't restricted to just human beings. the spider shape must scare the bejeebus out of creatures of all kinds the willies, not just my girlfriend

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: So, presumably

          @jai

          Your girlfriend's instincts are good. Though here in the UK there are no spiders that can do us serious harm, that is not true of much of the world. She, like all of us, have ancestors that have lived amongst spiders since before we were small furry things.

          Snakes, similarly- there are many species that can harm us if we threaten them, and our instincts 'know' this. In some people (Indiana Jones, for example) this fear is stronger, and harder for our concious minds to overcome.

          I've heard it said that the sale of lion poo is prohibited in the UK after the poll tax riots when protesters used it to scare police horses. Horses might not have lived on the continents as lions for a few thousands of years, but their instincts tell them that this smell is associated with something to be avoided.

        2. Ru

          Re: So, presumably

          "that would suggest that arachnophobia isn't restricted to just human beings"

          Well, its more likely that the sort of creature that would be interested in eating a 5mm spider might be a bit put off by one several times larger, and continue on its way. A predator that might be keen to eat a spider of either size will be more likely to go for the larger one, giving the real one an opportunity to make itself scarce.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: So, presumably

            Indeed, some countries have bird-eating spiders (though that is in part due to the small size of some birds in some parts of this ever-surprising world).

            Hmm, it might not be that the predator is threatened by the big decoy 'spider', but rather chooses it as the bigger meal, giving the real spider a chance to escape.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: So, presumably

          That's an interesting example of 'artificial'* selection, if true! The opposite could also be true (that Samurai, like many warriors around the world, take their inspiration from animals), as could a combination of the two processes.

          *(Used to denote selection by humans... but since we humans are the product of natural selection, some argue that our actions are natural, and thus should we ever colonise Mars, that life on Mars would also be natural. Bah, tis nowt but semantics!)

      4. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: So, presumably

        I don't think it needs self-knowledge

        I'm not disagreeing with this, but I'm not sure you can completely rule out the idea that the spider is "deliberately" making something in its own self image. I'm not suggesting it has self-cognition (some insects and arachnids have brain cells running into the dozens, from what I read), but I don't think it's crazy to suggest that spiders can have a sense of proprioception (ie, knowing roughly where its limbs are) and that that might form the basis for setting up a feedback loop (from cybernetics) to explain the how of what it does, if not the why.

        It would be pretty amazing to find that if could use visual information, but I'm guessing that proprioception could be a sufficient mechanism to explain it. It might even be possible to test the theory by filming the thing making the shape. If it makes leg waggles that correlate with the order that it builds the legs on the model then maybe the theory itself (to pardon the pun) has legs.

        Just throwing this out there. IANAEB (I Am Not An Evolutionary Biologist).

    2. jubtastic1

      Re: So, presumably

      Nope, natural selection means the spiders that make their dirt the most spider shaped are the ones less likely to be eaten, so the decoys become better with each generation, no mirrors or smoke required.

      1. hugo tyson
        Go

        Re: So, presumably

        ...especially if the decoy also attracts a mate somehow; either by direct "ooo there's a big strong mate" means, or by sexual selection, which as we know causes runaways in all kinds of arbitrary directions, if the *preference* as well as the attribute is heritable.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: So, presumably

          Well spotted Hugo. The researches didn't mention it, but there are some advanced sexual behaviours in some species of spider. 'Dancing' on a web, for example... though it has been observed that some male spiders get it on with the female while their competitor is still showing off... all the gain for no pain (save being eaten alive by your mate). This is an example of biologists call 'sneaky fucker' behaviour. Please excuse the f-bomb, but seriously, that's what zoologists call it.

  10. Darkwolf
    Flame

    ummm

    Doesn't this indicate a certain amount of self awareness and spatial awareness in order to get the spatial dimensions in correct proportion?

    After all, if the legs look to long in comparision to the bodies overall shape, then it would not be indicative of a spider, but instead of another creature perhaps.

    This is just the first step, creating the "puppet" out of weak materials.

    Next they will try harder materials like twigs.

    Then they will use these to subjegate other animals that can work with harder materials and build the next version out of wood.

    The wood puppets will subjegate stronger animals.

    It will be a self perpetuating cycle where they subjegate stronger animals to build stronger "puppets" until they manage to create puppets out of steel and subjegate man.

    As someone with severe arachnaphobia I fear our eventual spider overlords and say we burn them ... BURN THEM ALL NOW WHILE WE STILL CAN!!!!!

    1. wowfood
      Thumb Up

      Re: ummm

      I for one welcome our new arachnid overlords.

    2. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: ummm

      Wait. Wait until they produce metallic silk.... indestructable giant spider puppets.

      Then panic.

    3. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: ummm

      Spider mech warrior? Where have I seen that before? [ insert JPG of that boss from Doom here]

      Alas, mimicry as a survival tactic (birds that look like the plants they perch on, flowers that resemble female insects so that males 'mate' and thus pollinate them, hover-flies that look like wasps, butterflies that have large 'eyes' on their wings, stick insects that look like sticks...) arises from the successive selection of randomly occurring mutations.

      1. MacroRodent Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        +1 insightful (Re: ummm)

        Mimicry - you nailed it. This is just a special case of it, where instead of making the body of the organism look like some other organism, evolution causes an artifact by the organism resemble another organism, which here happens to look like a bigger version of the original spider, because it turns out to be useful. No self-awareness needed.

    4. A J Stiles

      Re: ummm

      Doesn't this indicate a certain amount of self awareness and spatial awareness in order to get the spatial dimensions in correct proportion?
      No, it doesn't. You're bringing in advanced human concepts here. The spider doesn't need to know that what it is building looks like a spider. All it needs to know is that what it is building scares off predators. It so happens in this case that looking like a spider and scaring off predators are the same thing, is all.
      After all, if the legs look to long in comparision to the bodies overall shape, then it would not be indicative of a spider, but instead of another creature perhaps.
      And the spider that built it would, in all probability, get eaten before it got a chance to pass on the genes for building poor-quality decoys.

      That's really all it takes: Try lots of slightly-different things, keep the ones that work, throw away the ones that don't, and repeat over and over again.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: ummm

        Yeah, just to clarify: 'Mimicry' applied to 'hover-fly looks like wasp' is not the same as a child mimicking their parent's turns of phrase. Mimicry in that sense does in nature- Mynah birds, parrots and song birds being easy examples.

      2. mike2R

        Re: ummm

        "All it needs to know is that what it is building scares off predators."

        Just to clarify (I'm sure you're aware) that it doesn't need to 'know' anything (which is a good thing since it is just a spider afterall).

        All it needs to do is behave according to how its genes dictate, and if it gets a small advantage over its peers in terms of becoming a reproductive sucess by behaving in this way, then these genes will over generations become more common and more refined within its species.

      3. lukewarmdog

        Re: ummm

        If the spider is ALREADY scary, why would it need to build a second scary spider to erm scare stuff off?

        So maybe it is lonely and has made itself a friend, partner, parent figure

        or the scary spider scares prey away from the model into the real spiders path

        or maybe it's a form of self or species worship made in its own image

        Or maybe its doing gangnam style. until we see it set to music we can't really say.

        We make snowmen, maybe spiders make dirt spiders.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: ummm

          " The spider doesn't need to know that what it is building looks like a spider. All it needs to know is that what it is building scares off predators. "

          So millions of years of evolution give the same result as the spider just standing in the web in the first place? That's certainly not an Intelligent Design :)

          I wondered if the idea is it does not scare predators, but tricks them into eating the fake.

        2. ElReg!comments!Pierre

          Re: ummm

          > If the spider is ALREADY scary, why would it need to build a second scary spider to erm scare stuff off?

          Except that the second spider is roughly 6 times the size of the first one. A cat 6 times the size of a house cat is a Siberian tiger*. Not exactly the same place in the food chain.

          *if Wikipedia figures for average cat sizes are to be believed

  11. Alex Walsh

    from a lifelong arachnophobe

    Two options that occur to me:

    1) burn it with fire

    2) nuke it from orbit (it's the only way to be sure)

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: from a lifelong arachnophobe

      Thats it man, game over man! its game over!

      1. The Original Cactus

        Re: from a lifelong arachnophobe

        They're coming from under the God-damn bath!

  12. mIRCat
    Terminator

    Not so original

    I do the same thing at work. From the far side of the room it looks like I'm hard at work in front of the computer. When the bosses come round I can wiggle and it even answers the phone!

    1. jubtastic1
      Trollface

      Re: Not so original

      You are Tracy from BabeStation and I claim my £5

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: Not so original

      You should build yourself a Pantograph (or a series of them) and connect it up to an oversized model of yourself. That should scare the bejesus out of the boss so he won't come around ever again.

  13. ukgnome
    Joke

    Puppet or Muppet - you decide

    I have heard that the UK parliament has tried a similar tactic, I don't know what Dave CamMoron calls it, but we call it a Clegg.

    1. Martin Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Puppet or Muppet - you decide

      I don't know which is more rib-tickling hilarious, the joke about the Clegg or the massively witty pun CamMoron.

      Oh, actually, yes I do. Neither of them.

      1. ukgnome
        Happy

        Re: Puppet or Muppet - you decide

        And yet you took the time to reply, many thanks Martin

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Puppet or Muppet - you decide

          Ha ha! You love Balls.

  14. Chris G Silver badge

    Mimicry!

    This spider by luck or judgment has learned to mimic politicians, who often have scapegoats out front who appear to be doing something while the actual politician is up to something else in addition to string pulling.

    1. The Original Cactus

      Re: Mimicry!

      Are you sure about that? I thought the politicians were the front men having their strings pulled.

  15. volsano

    Pace Mary Shelley

    Burn it with fire or nuke it from orbit -- both excellent options.

    But fear the day it is struck by lightning.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Playmobil or it isn't real

    Oh, hang on..

  17. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    IT connection

    This spider also can count. At least to 10 (octal).

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: IT connection

      IT connection:

      On the web, no one really knows what you really look like.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: IT connection

        Another IT connection:

        Some spiders can up the resolution of the eyes by introducing vibrations to them. Imagine you took a photo, and then shifted the camera to the left by half the diameter of each CCD receptor... and then shifted it up by the same. You would have three images that could be interpolated to resolve more detail than any one single image. Some engineers have built cameras based on this principle.

  18. Pooka

    Are they going to side with us or the insects?

    Human slaves.......

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Are they going to side with us or the insects?

      ...in an insect nation!"

      Here's one to Bill Bailey! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2mmTDT6W7E

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science...it's not fact

    ...its only a theory.

    /Trolling to get down-voted in 5-4-3-......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Science...it's not fact

      http://xkcd.com/675/

  20. Winkypop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Would have come in handy on the ark

    It would have kept the other pairs of spiders away!

  21. 27escape
    Happy

    Saw plenty of spiders when I was there

    But not this one, will have to go back!

  22. Gagol

    Gives me an idea

    For my cubicle!

  23. Randy Hudson

    Counting spiders

    Seems unlikely they could count to 8

    1. Frumious Bandersnatch

      Re: Counting spiders

      Seems unlikely they could count to 8

      Maybe they can count to 256?

  24. mANgLEr
    Black Helicopters

    After Torres found one specimen, they showed up like buses

    It's good to see a footballer who isn't as dumb as a plank have something to fall back on.

  25. croc
    Paris Hilton

    I just don't understand... I thought that the purpose of a spider web was to catch prey, not to scare it off. Or maybe the spider knows that flies really don't know what a spider looks like (having always been eaten before they could talk...) and also knowing that big, lumbering humans will just blindly walk through their webs, (given several hundred thousand years of observation) causing them hours of hungry painful labour-intensive rebuilding of said web, and also knowing that said humans are 50 / 50 afraid of spiders, so build an image that will alert the big-lumbering lummox to the fact that he (or she) is about to have a close encounter of a spidery kind. In short, a true genius of an inventor, worthy of even more praise than its lowly engineering bretheren, for inventing a device that will save spider-dom countless hours of frustrating, painstaking, labourious web-building.

    On another note, wonder what a spider looks like seen through a spider's eight eyes?

    < the .50 referred to above...

  26. R.P.Charlie
    Happy

    and jiggles the strands like a puppet master

    Could his name by any chance be George Soros?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a Trap

    A tiny bird-eating spider is luring bigger spider-eating birds into its' web to entangle them and devour them at leisure.

    Spiders (of all sizes) are crafty suckers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's a Trap - Obligatory XKCD reference

      http://xkcd.com/1135/

      explanation here

      http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php?title=1135:_Arachnoneurology

      There is a link to Spiders on Acid

  28. csmac3144

    Big deal. I've had a life-sized clone of myself made out of dirt and scrap lumber hanging from the roof of my house for years now. It works too! Even the mail man doesn't bother me any more.

  29. Jim 59

    Too good to be true.

    Sounds too ammazingly amazing to be true. Rather like the bird that impersonates camers shutters - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y (1:50). Come on Attenborough, you expect us to believe that ?

    1. Richard Chirgwin (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Too good to be true.

      "Rather like the bird that impersonates camers shutters - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y (1:50). Come on Attenborough, you expect us to believe that ?"

      Since I've heard birds imitate mobile phone ringtones, yes. I know of a Superb Lyrebird in Australia whose repertoire includes imitating a local dog!

      Richard Chirgwin

      The Register

  30. spammy1982

    New contender for apex mountain?

    Just add this species to the list of apex contenders... They start spitting out conductive thread and it's all over... unless, of course, they are taking orders from me.

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