Study: Black widow spiders creep northward

This article discusses how black widow spiders are moving northward, as a result of global warming.

Venomous northern black widow spiders are being spotted farther north than they’ve ever been found before, scientists have found with the help of photos snapped by the public.

“They’re occupying new habitats that we didn’t previously think they could,” said Yifu Wang, lead author of a new Canadian study tracking the shifting range of the northern black widow, most likely due to climate change.

As they start pushing into new areas, this kind of information will help both the public and local health authorities be better prepared, reported Wang and colleagues from McGill University and the Montreal Insectarium.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, found that pictures of spiders taken by ordinary people, or “citizen scientists,” using their smartphones were crucial for tracking the small, hard-to-find creatures.

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