Mystery Solved! (Sort of):
We Went to the amazon To See What Was Building These Weird Web Tower Things
by Nadia Drake
After six months of speculation, we finally know what’s building these bizarre silk structures in the Amazon: a spider! But its precise identity is still a mystery that scientists are scrambling to solve as I write this.
Last week we followed these spider-hunting scientists, led by entomologist Phil Torres, deep into the Amazon rainforest as they attempted to find the tiny silk towers and figure out where they came from. It has not been an easy case to crack.
“With a lot of other weird mysteries, once you make an observation of some sort, spend enough time out there, the pieces kind of fit together,” said Torres, a graduate student at Rice University. “I’m surprised by how difficult this one is to solve.”
The bizarre structures first surfaced on the internet late this summer, when graduate student Troy Alexander posted photos to Reddit and Facebook, hoping that somebody could tell him what the structures were. He had discovered them on a small island near the Tambopata Research Center, deep in the Peruvian Amazon…
(read more: Wired Science)
photos: Courtesy Lary Reeves & Ariel Zambelich/WIRED
You guys have no idea how much suspense we, the scientific twitter community, have been in over these little structures! If you are a scientist, and you care about communication of your work and want to hear about other scientists’ work straight from them, I highly recommend you get on twitter immediately. Follow Phil and Troy (link in the quoted text above), and anyone else who strikes your fancy. You can follow my own tweets at @MarkScherz :)