sealPurdue News

May 13, 2002

What a Wicked Web

Sure the superhero Spiderman can do lots of amazing tricks. But, what about the amazing little creatures that lurk in the corners of our house, hide under our beds, and spin webs in our garages?

Alan York, professor of entomology, is Purdue's own "Spiderman," and he can talk about the more common creature – amazing in its own right – that has inhabited the earth for thousands of years.

York knows spiders. He can discuss spiders native to Indiana or some of the more deadly varieties found around the world. York can dispel myths that surround the insect, discuss the arachnid's place in our ecosystem, share fun facts about the spider and share folklore that has been passed down for generations.

York's Spooky Spider Facts:

• There have been no documented deaths from tarantula bites.

• When a tarantula bites, it is unlikely to inject poison. Why?

• How did the word "cobweb" derive its meaning to describe a spider's web?

• All spiders are poisons to secure their food. In most cases, the venom they possess is not threatening to humans.

• In Indiana the black widow and the brown recluse are of concern, but not deadly.

• The common "daddy long legs" is not a spider --

CONTACT: Alan York, professor of entomology, (765) 494-4559,; or Jesica Webb, Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2079, to arrange interviews or campus visits.