Opening of the Browns Co-operative Dairy Factory,
Southland, on October 12. - Otago Witness, 6.11.1912.
A correspondent has written asking if there is any record
of spiders with more than four pairs of legs.
It is 74 years since James Eights, an American naturalist and
explorer, first announced that, while away down in the South
Orkneys, near the Antarctic Circle, south of South America,
he had discovered a sea spider with five pairs of legs. His
work was lost for a long time, and when it was brought under
notice again modern zoologists gave it a cool reception.
Thousands of species of spiders, belonging to the land, the
sea, and the shore, had been recorded, but no spider had ever
been known to have more than four pairs of legs, and there
was a refusal to believe that even a sea-spider, which might
be allowed to have some eccentricities, had an extra pair.
Ten years ago, however, Mr T. V. Hodgson, biologist in
Captain R. J. Scott's first Antarctic expedition, found
several specimens of these much-legged spiders near M'Murdo
Sound, where Captain Scott has his present winter quarters,
and he at once established the authenticity of Eights's
discovery. These creatures have now been found by Dr Bruce's
Scottish expedition, also at the South Orkneys, and by Mr D.
G. Lillie, biologist of Captain Scott's present expedition,
again on the M'Murdo Sound side.
Ten-legged sea-spiders indeed have ceased to be things of
wonder. They are sometimes found at great depths, and are
brought to the surface in the biologist's trawls. They have
slender bodies, about two inches long, and their sprawling
legs, which give them a typically spidery appearance, are
about three inches long.
Some sea-spiders, with the normal number of legs, have been
brought up in different parts of the world, from 1600 fathoms
and more. The conditions of life in the abysses of the sea,
apparently, do not have a dwarfing effect, as several
specimens of these spiders are very large. Little is known of
the habits of sea-spiders. None has been known to possess the
art of swimming, and all crawl slowly amongst branches of
seaweed, where they find other creatures to prey upon.
As far as appearances go, they are just as ferocious and
repulsive as their kinsmen on the land.
• The Rangitikei Sawmillers Association has increased the
price of heart of matai by 1s per 100ft (says the New Zealand
Times). The reason for the advance is the great scarcity and
increasing demand. It seems almost impossible to supply the
demand coming from Wellington, Wanganui, and other parts.
According to authorities, it is only a matter of a little
time when this valuable timber will be cut right out. The
Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, and Wairarapa bushes have all
- ODT, 5.11.1912.
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