A new study done by the University of Sydney has found that certain spiders living in cities are actually larger and more fertile than those living in the country.
Researchers from the university looked at the golden orb-weaving spider (Nephila plumipes), a spider that is found in both the Australian countryside and in Australian cities. Even though cities are not exactly the natural habitats of spiders, the researchers found that these spiders are thriving.
“We examined the effect of urbanisation at local and landscape scales on the body size, lipid reserves and ovary weight of Nephila plumipes, an orb weaving spider commonly found in both urban and natural landscapes,” noted the researchers in their study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
They found that the spiders living in city environments are actually bigger than the spiders living in their natural habitats. Not only that, but spiders in the city are more likely to reproduce.
“Spider size was negatively associated with vegetation cover at a landscape scale, and positively associated with hard surfaces and anthropogenic disturbance on a local and microhabitat scale,” said the researchers.
Though they are not entirely sure why, the researchers believe that the spiders thrive more in the city because there are less predators there that might harm the arachnids. They also believe that the lighting caused by the buildings and concrete attract more insects for the spiders to catch and eat.
The ability for the golden orb-weaving spider to survive in city environments have given it the title of “urban exploiter,” said lead researcher Elizabeth Lowe.
“The effects of urbanization on wildlife are very varied — some do well, others don’t,” Lowe said in an interview with Live Science.
“Animals which benefit from urbanization are called urban exploiters, and these species do better in urban areas than their natural habitats.”
For more information on the Australian golden orb-weaving spider and its ability to grow bigger and better in cities, check out the official study that was published in PLOS ONE.