Professor Fink’s discovery makes news — again

Green Lynx Spider
Green lynx spider photo by Geoff Gallice (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dejeuxx/6806541531/), licensed under CC-BY-2.0.

More than 30 years ago, Duberg Professor of Ecology Linda Fink made a scientific discovery while conducting her master’s thesis research on maternal care in Peucetia viridians, the green lynx spider. She was the first scientist to document that the mama spiders spew venom from their fangs to protect their spiderlings.

Yesterday, Fink made news in Birmingham, Ala., for her work. A delightful article by Ben Raines at AL.com quotes Fink and cites her 1984 paper in the Journal of Arachnology. Raines leads with a willies-inducing gem:

“Thousands of voracious, venom-spitting spiders are hatching out all over Alabama and the Southeastern United States right now.”

If that doesn’t make you want to click the story link, nothing said here will do the trick. Here is the link: Venom-spitting spiders hatching out all over Alabama make great mothers

In case you’re wondering, green lynx spiders are supposed to occur in Virginia, but Fink says she’s never seen one here.

“The edges of our switch grass fields would be ideal habitat, so maybe they’ll start appearing,” she said.