Darwin Day 2012

February 12, 2012

Tags: ballooning, Darwin

Happy Darwin Day!

If you google "darwin day" on blogs, you'll find a variety of science and other writers' personal appreciations of Darwin's genius--highly recommended. Here, we're of course partial to spiders. Darwin was more of a beetle man, but if you follow this link to last year's Darwin Day post, you can read of his noteworthy encounter with spider silk.

Darwin Day

February 12, 2011

Tags: Darwin

Charles Darwin was born 202 years ago today.

Although spiders don't figure much in On the Origin of Species, Darwin--an inveterate bug hunter--delighted in their variety and behaviors. He records some of his observations on "Aeronaut Spiders" in The Voyage of the Beagle:

"On several occasions, when the 'Beagle' has been within the mouth of the Plata, the rigging has been coated with the web of the Gossamer Spider. One day (November 1st, 1832) I paid particular attention to this subject. The weather had been fine and clear, and in the morning the air was full of patches of the flocculent web, as on an autumnal day in England. The ship was sixty miles distant from the land, in the direction of a steady though light breeze. Vast numbers of a small spider, about one-tenth of an inch in length, and of a dusky red colour, were attached to the webs...."

You can read on by going to the December 6, 1833, section of Chapter VIII.

Evolution is in the air today.




Tags

"...a compelling introduction to evolution in action through the lens of spiders and their silks."

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