Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Itsy-bitsy it's not

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 - Commercial Appeal

A creature that plunges oversize fangs into its prey before dragging it into a tube-like silk enclosure lies waiting for breakfast in Overton Park. The fangs are huge -- half the length of the creature's legs. How cool is that?

And it's not small for an arachnid -- 2 inches. The colorful, deadly and fascinating purseweb spider reminds us of what an urban treasure Memphis has in Overton Park's Old Forest. There are snakes there, too, and pawpaw trees that drop their seedy fruit in late summer. There are owls, hawks and an occasional coyote sighting. The list goes on and on.

The purseweb spider, whose primary threat is deforestation, made the news this week after researchers at the Mempis Zoo reported finding a bunch of them and began compiling research for submission to The Journal of Arachnology.

Whether 17 acres of Old Forest now under the control of the zoo becomes part of an exhibit or is opened to the public, it's important to preserve it for posterity in its present state.

Workers are now erecting a Teton Trek exhibit that doomed 139 of the forest's trees. Any further encroachment would be a shame. There's no telling what else may be lurking under its majestic canopy, with fangs and without.


Naomi Van Tol said...

Another great pro-forest editorial from the staff of the Commercial Appeal!

Unknown said...

nice piece

Unknown said...

nice article. if the zoo keeps clearing habitat, i hope the little fanged critters take residence in the shorts of the zoo board of directors. maybe only then will they see the value of the forrest.

score one for the spiders (from mars).

billy simpson

tb said...

This article talking about the health benefits of green spaces is pretty interesting...