Guam expert says spiders pose no threat to agriculture
- By Louella Losinio - Variety News Staff
HAGÅTÑA — Recent scientific findings on the explosion of the spider population on Guam should not be a cause of concern for farmers, University of Guam entomologist Dr. Aubrey Moore assured.According to Moore, there is good evidence that the eight-legged arachnids pose no threat to agriculture and the endemic species of insects on the island, at least for now.
Moore was reacting to the results of a study released by ecologists which concluded that Guam’s jungles have as many as 40 times more spiders than are found on nearby islands like Saipan.
According to biologists from Rice University, the University of Washington and the University of Guam, the results are some of the first to examine the indirect impact of the brown tree snake on Guam’s ecosystem.
“Actually, because spiders eat insects, we don’t consider spiders as pests. We see them as beneficial.”
According to Moore, the spiders prey on insects that were part of the diet of the decimated bird population on Guam. He also confirmed that Guam has a bigger spider population in comparison to Saipan and Rota.
“What the spiders are doing is taking over some of the services that some of the birds used to provide. The birds used to eat a lot of insects but they are not around anymore. They are compensating. That’s how nature adjusts itself,” Moore explained.
Haldre Rogers, a Huxley Fellow in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Rice University and the lead author of the study, said: “You can’t walk through the jungles on Guam without a stick in your hand to knock down the spider webs.”
According to the study, “In some places, a dense fabric of webs fills gaps between trees in the jungle canopy.”