Jack’s Black Widow Project

* * * FAIR WARNING * * *

This post is not for people who get freaked out by spiders, or freaked out by killing spiders “for science”. If you are either of the aforementioned type of person, why don’t you just go here instead, little baby. This is a post for ninjas only.

Jack IMs me this morning telling me that, at his lab in Pleasanton, they found a spider on the floor. It looks like this:


photo: Jack

Yup. A black widow. This poor little thing just had no idea it was creeping right into, not a home where it would feast on the blood of your sleeping children, not Robguy’s house where he would probably gently scoot it outside, but right into the hands of two young men with access to a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Muah ha ha ha ha!

Right now I believe Jack is killing it (I advised him to do it gently, with ammonia or something) and soon we’re going to get to see this sucker at 100 – 1000x. I’m particularly looking forward to the hair on its legs and the eyes!

Stay tuned.

P.S. If you want to see some of Jack’s previous “just for fun” SEM images, head over to his Flickr. Some pretty badass stuff. Here’s 100+ and here’s 1000+. Oh, and here’s some really cool compilations of images using his SEM and his iPhone.

UPDATE: I’ve just been alerted that we’re going to get to see this spider at 100,000x. One hundred thousand times magnification. Oh my god. This is awesome.


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2 Responses to “Jack’s Black Widow Project”

  1. Jack Says:


    That Black Widow is effin dead! Death by drowning in ETOH, also know as Ethanol.

    Images will be on the way in a few days!

  2. califmom Says:

    So cool! I grew up in Northern Nevada, in a log house. I had to kill a spider in the shower every flippin’ morning. Trust me, they were not an endangered species. We had our share of Black Widows, too.

    Can’t wait to see the images.

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