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Monday, December 7, 2015

HOORAY! It's Time for THE TWELVE ARACHNIDS OF CHRISTMAS!




Okay, here it is for all of you who've asked for it. The TWELVE ARACHNIDS OF CHRISTMAS! are back. And for any of you who are discovering this for the first time, ENJOY!

[Books mentioned below are from my ARACHNID WORLD Series by Lerner]




On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave me to a 
black widow in a fir tree.









As I watched, that black widow spider dangled upside down from a silk thread. Next, its exoskeleton (armor-like covering) split open along the back. Then the spider pushed and pulled and crawled out of its exoskeleton.





What in the world just happened? To find out, read Black Widows: Deadly Biters pages 22 through 23. 
*Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.


On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two striped bark scorpions--one big female 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and a smaller male.






As I watched, the male grabbed the female's pedipalps (body parts near the mouth). He tugged her forward and then they turned around in a circle. They did this over and over for hours.

What was happening to my scorpions? To find out, read Scorpions: Armored Stingers pages 28 and 29.
*Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.


On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three female Carolina wolf spiders.



As I watched, a round ball about one-third as big as the spider and stuck to its spinnerets split open. Hundreds of tiny spiders crawled out and climbed onto the big spider.

What's likely to happen next? To find out, read Wolf Spiders: Mothers On Guard pages 26 through 29.
*Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.




On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four wind scorpions.





Almost at once, one of the wind scorpions ran straight up a nearly vertical rock. How did it keep from falling off? To find out, read Wind Scorpions: Killer Jaws pages 24 and 25.*Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.












On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five tarantulas.



One goliath bird-eater tarantula was holding a gecko. As I watched it sank in its fangs and brought up digestive juices.

Why in the world did it do that? To find out read Tarantulas: Supersized Predators pages 32 and 33. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end. 



























Then keep on reading quickly to let me know whether I should stay to watch or run away. Two of the other tarantulas have turned their hairy rear ends toward me and look ready to rub these with their hind legs.

Help me decide what action to take by reading pages 30 and 31.




On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love to me six female orb web weaver spiders spinning their webs.







As I watched, a fly landed on one spider's web. That female ran to the fly and shots strands of silk over it.












Why did she do that? To find out, read Orb Weavers: Hungry Spinners pages 24 and 25. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.




I kept on watching and saw a fly zip into another spider's web. I expected the web to break, but it didn't. Why not? To find out, read page 17 and page 22.



On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven fishing spiders fishing in a pond.







At just that moment, a bat flew past and all the fishing spiders dived beneath the surface. They stayed underwater for nearly thirty minutes.

How were they able to stay underwater for so long? To find out, read Fishing Spiders: Water Ninjas pages 22 through 23. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.




On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight crab spiders
lurking inside flowers.








Some goldenrod crab spiders were inside yellow flowers and they were yellow. Other goldenrod crab spiders were inside white flowers and they were white.










How were these spiders able to be just the right flower color to hide and wait to ambush insects? To find out, read Crab Spiders: Phantom Hunters pages 22 and 23. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.




On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine harvestmen packed close together and bobbing up and down.



Why were they doing that? To find out, read Harvestmen: Secret Operatives page 21. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten ticks-a-sucking blood from their host.






As I watched these female dog ticks over several days, their bodies swelled up until they were nearly six hundred times bigger.

How in the world could they swell so big? To find out read Ticks: Dangerous Hitchhikers pages 14 and 15. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.

Why can a tick's bite make people and animals sick? Read pages 28 through 36 to find out.




On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven jumping spiders jumping.



As I watched, one leapt from one leaf to another to catch an insect.

How could it possibly jump so far? To find out, read Jumping Spiders: Gold Medal Stalkers pages 22 and 23. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.

What's the record for how far a jumping spider can leap? Read pages 46 and 47 to find out.



On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve mites-a-multiplying
on a bean plant.



At first, I couldn't see the tiny two-spotted mites sucking on one of the plant's leaves. In less than a month, the plant was nearly covered with web strands dotted with tiny mites. They were sucking the plant's juices and producing even more two-spotted mites.

How did there get to be so many so quickly. To find out, read Mites: Master Sneaks pages 36 and 37. *Or check the answers from Spider Clause at the very end.

Yes, my arachnid Christmas this year is one I'll always remember. After all, it's the year I received:


12 mites-a-multiplying
11 jumping spiders jumping
10 ticks-a-sucking
harvestmen bobbing
crab spiders lurking
fishing spiders fishing
orb weavers spinning
tarantulas
4 wind scorpions
3 wolf spiders
2 scorpions
And a black widow in a fir tree


And as he drove out of sight, Spider Claus called, "Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!"


ANSWERS
1 Black Widow--This spider was bigger. Because it's skeleton is an exoskeleton (on the outside), it had to shed this. The new exoskeleton quickly hardened.
2 Scorpions--The pair is courting and preparing to mate and produced baby scorpions.
3 Wolf Spider--The baby spiders climb onto their mother's back and ride along for a week or two. That way they stay safe from predators while they live off their stored yolk and keep growing bigger. 
4 Wind Scorpion--It has pedipalps--that look like long legs--with a sticky tip to grip and hang on.
5 Tarantula--To turn its prey into a liquid it can suck in. Get out of the way, those hairs can irritate your skin.
6 Orb Weavers--This keeps the prey from escaping. The strands don't break because they're tougher than Kevlar, the fabric used to make bulletproof vests.
7 Fishing Spiders--Air is trapped between its body hairs. The spider breathes by drawing oxygen into its book lungs from this air-filled coat.
8 Crab Spiders--These spiders can change color enough to match where they hide.
9 Harvestmen--Packed close together and bobbing makes them look like a much bigger animal so predators leave them alone.
10 Ticks--Like a fan opening, the lower part of its body can spread apart and expand as it sucks in a blood meal. That bite can pass on a disease, like Lyme disease.
11Jumping Spiders--It jumps when muscles inside its body contracts, forcing blood into its four hind legs. These stretch out and launch the spider. A jumping spider can jump two to three times its body length. That's amazing--if you don't think so, see how far you can jump.
12 Mites--A few become many quickly because mites go from egg to adult ready to lay eggs in less than a month.

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