Luckily for all of us, the “fact” that people swallow eight spiders in their sleep yearly isn’t true. Discover world-changing science. “Please tell me this is a myth or I will bandage my mouth up,” says Claire Jeyes. A review of these injuries suggests that most of them tend to be on a limb, hand or foot, though there are occasional bites to the face, including one to an 8-year-old girl’s eyelid whilst she slept. Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Acorn Woodpeckers Fight Long, Bloody Territorial Wars, The Most Vulnerable Ransomware Targets Are the Institutions We Rely On Most. http://www.burkemuseum.org/spidermyth/myths/whileyousleep.html, Brewer, Geoffrey. To test her theory that people are susceptible to accepting as true anything they read online, Lisa Holst, a columnist for PC Professional in the 1990s, conducted an experiment. Eating spiders is not all that unusual, but is it true that people accidentally swallow eight spiders per year? This supposed propensity is what gave the black widow spider, Latrodectus mactans, its name. “We lived in South Africa at the time. “Vibrations are a big slice of spiders’ sensory universe,” Crawford explains, “A sleeping person is not something a spider would willingly approach.”. The reality, however, is quite different: we swallow no spiders at all. If not, how come so many of us have swallowed this as fact? Tarantulas, though, compared to grasshoppers or beetles, have a chitin covering that is relatively think and pliable. The spiders are bred in holes in the ground in villages north of Skuon, or foraged for i… The locals gather the spiders in the forest from underground burrows, where it is possible to find up to five a day. They catch the tarantulas by poking a stick down their holes, wait for the spider to attack the stick, and then pull the stick out with the spider clinging to it. Sih and Johnson surmise that non-reproductive cannibalism can occur due to a remnant of an aggression trait in juvenile females. Spiders are creepy and crawling, but their choice of residence isn't necessarily your mouth -- especially while you're sleeping. The author noted the fictional statistic about spiders as an outlandish example, only to watch it quickly spread as fact across the Internet. After the spiders are deep fried with a little salt and garlic, the locals eat them a bit like eating a crab. Male water spiders, Argyronetia aquatica, show a predilection for mating with larger females, while cannibalizing females smaller than themselves.[4]. Having more offspring would give the male the advantage of having his genes passed on over other males that might avoid being eaten. Well, in Cambodia, fried spider is a delicacy. 3 4 5. As yet, however, it has not been possible to confirm the existence of either Holst or the article she is supposed to have written, raising the ironic possibility that snopes.com might need to shine a light on itself. As is the case with Allocosa brasiliensis, males cull older females who are less fertile than their young counterparts. Recluse spiders of the genus Loxosceles are also mostly active at night and can give a bad enough bite to send people to hospital. According to many sources, the spider eating in Cambodia is a relatively recent occurrence, and legend has it that it began during the Khmer Rouge regime, during which the people were starving, and began eating the tarantulas, and all sorts of other creatures, gathered from the forest. If this is making some of you anxious, it’s probably time to bring in Dave Clarke, head of invertebrates at London Zoo in the UK. “In a delicious irony,” writes Knutsen, “Holst’s propagation of this false ‘fact’ has spurred it into becoming one of the most widely-circulated bits of misinformation to be found on the internet.”. If a spider were to climb onto your face while you slept, the sensation of eight tiny legs on your skin could wake you up very quickly. “Fact or Fiction? People Swallow 8 Spiders a Year While They Sleep.” Scientific American. earthworm is a valuable source of protein, Edible: And Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet, people accidentally swallow eight spiders per year. The male Australian redback spider Latrodectus hasselti is killed by the female after he inserts his second palpus in the female genital opening; in over 60% of cases the female then eats the male. The spiders are 5 to a stick and are being sold, at the Donghuamen night market in Beijing. In the medical literature, there are cases of spiders biting people whilst they sleep. Eating creepy crawly things is, in fact, the norm, not the exception. The doctor said it was probably crawling across my face and I've disturbed it! NOW 50% OFF! "How Many Spiders Do You Really Swallow in Your Sleep?" Shrimp, lobsters, and crabs! They do the same type of thing in China. Incidentally, it is also a component of the cell-membranes of mushrooms and other fungi which may be one reason why cooking mushrooms could make them easier to digest (there is some limited evidence of the existence of a human ‘chitinase’ or chitin enzyme).

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