Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fungal Affection

New Zealanders might be happy to know that a graduate student is on his way to developing a biocontrol agent to deal with white-tailed spiders (Lampona murina and L. cylindrata). According to this story from stuff.co.nz, Nic Cummings discovered a fungus that kills the spiders, and is now attempting to grow it and hopefully tame it so that it can be placed in traps. White-tail spiders are originally from Australia, and were introduced to New Zealand over a century ago. While they are not venomous, their bite can transfer a bacteria that causes skin to erupt in a rash or even nasty blisters.

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