Archived Issue May 2012

The land of Anansi

Nearly half the world’s spider families live in T&T

Did you know that Trinidad and Tobago is home to nearly half of the world’s spider families—Anansi excluded? Did you know that spiders make an enormous contribution to agriculture? Read about it here, where Jo-Anne Sewlal, from the Dept of Life Sciences at UWI St. Augustine takes us into the fascinating world of spiders.

Jo-Anne’s cover photo, taken in Tobago, shows a member of the spider family Thomisidae, commonly referred to as Crab spiders. (Strange how easy it is to associate Tobago with crabs, even spiders get drawn into that web!)

They get this name from the size and length of their first two pairs of legs which are much longer and thicker than the other two pairs and are held forward in a crab-like position. They are active hunters, particularly wandering on plants, so they do not use the silk they produce to construct webs to catch prey. Thomisid spiders rely on camouflage to ambush their prey, with some individuals blending in with the petals of flowers, leaves and bark, with some members even mimicking bird droppings. Those that hide on the petals of flowers, ambush the pollinators that visit it, for example, bees, while they themselves act as pollinators as they move from flower to flower transferring the pollen that has rubbed on their bodies. They are capable of taking down prey much larger than themselves, like the bees. However, they also supplement their diet of insects with nectar.

Other Top Stories

New space for medical students
Dorms at San Fernando
Not just for the birds
Life saving studies
The long journey home
An auditor traces ancestral steps
Interview with writer in residence
Myriam Chancy

UWI Calendar June - July 2012

14th International Conference on Penal Abolition
13-15 June, 2012
UWI St. Augustine
Hydrocarbon Revenue Management
20-22 June, 2012
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Mathematics Education in the 21st Century
21-23 June, 2012
UWI St. Augustine
5th European Conference of Poeciliid Biologists
25-28 June, 2012
UWI St. Augustine
7th Caribbean Creative Writers’ Residential Workshop
8-19 July, 2012
Trinidad and Tobago
Shifting the Geography of Reason IX
19-21 July, 2012
UWI St. Augustine
DCIT Boot Camp
July 23-27, 2012
UWI, St. Augustine

Also In This Issue

  Along came our spiders: Nearly half the world’s types live in T&T
  Message from the Principal: Leadership and the University
  Educating and Innovating in a Connected World
  Pension talks
  Our Place in the Region
  UWI Teaching and Student Facilities
  The column that supported Civil Engineering
  A billion ways
  New terms of office
  Hydrocarbon management
  Council approves UWI Strategic Plan
  Not just for the birds
  Thinking about depression
  Hair today
  Exploring Caribbean Cinema
  Special Education on display
  Following footsteps: An auditor takes a pen to write the journey of a lifetime
  Uncovering history: The work of Caribbean writers