Scientists in Denmark wondered if global warming could make Greenland’s wolf spiders bigger. During a ten-year study, they tracked spider sizes. In years when spring came 30 days earlier than usual, some spiders grew exoskeletons that were thicker than average, resulting in bigger bodies! In colder winters, spiders grew thinner exoskeletons. What’s more, during warmer springs female spiders grew larger than the male spiders did.
Photograph by Tom Uhlman/AP
As the Earth’s temperature warms, bigger spiders could become the norm. Researchers aren’t sure why warmer temperatures mean bigger wolf spiders. It could be because their prime hunting season is longer. Or perhaps longer summers allow the spiders to molt–shed their old exoskeletons–more often, letting grow bigger during their lifetimes. The study’s co-author, Toke Høye, is pretty sure that bigger spiders will also mean MORE spiders, because larger female wolf spiders have more offspring than smaller ones.
Read more about this spider study on National Geographic News.
Watch a jumping spider video on National Geographic Kids.