Episode 25: Eight-Legged Drum Solo (ft Dr. Dustin Wilgers)

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Cassie and Allan talk to Spider Scientist Dustin Wilgers as he delves into the elaborate world of spider communication, as well as spider senses, arachnophobia, and what it’s like to get chomped on all of the time in the name of research.

Dr. Dustin Wilgers' mission is to improve science literacy through education. His books follow the adventures of a young scientist, Savannah, that happens to be his favorite animal, a spider. During each adventure, kids will learn about science and even a little about spider biology. He wants kids to learn it is never too early to be curious and look at the world through the eyes of science.

Drums in the Deep

In the video below, Dr. Wilgers captured the courtship display of the wolf spider, Rabidosa rabida, advertising his bona fides as a mate to females in the area. It’s a complicated mix of drumming with the forelimbs and pedipalps, as well as stridulations (creating sound by rubbing body parts together) and vibrations from the abdomen, all meant to send the message that he is a major stud. You can also see that this individual has dark forelimbs, which suggest that he might indeed be a real catch for a lucky lady spider.


Dustin has also just released the second book in his Savanna Spider series for young readers with a budding interest in science! Savanna Spider, Super Scientist and the Science Fair Mystery is available both in the Owl’s Nest Gift Shop at GPNC and online at the link below. Check it out!