Entomologist Richard Bradley says spiders are "charismatically challenged."
They come out at night. You never know if they're hanging around. And their mating ritual often ends violently.
But he and other researchers at Ohio State say spiders—and other maligned creatures such as snakes and bees—are more fascinating than terrifying and play an important role in nature.
Water snakes at Lake Erie control the population of round goby, a predator of smallmouth bass eggs. Snakes protect agricultural crops by controlling rodent populations. Spiders are important in pest control. And a healthy honey bee population is important to agriculture and pollination.
"I don't expect people to like spiders," says Professor Bradley, "but I want them to understand their importance to the ecosystem."
Here's a quick look at some of the "creepy" research being done at Ohio State.
- Ohio State entomologists have been busy investigating the decline in Ohio’s honey bee population, as well as recovering from a tornado that destroyed a beekeeping building in Wooster. Read more.