#3. Jumping Spiders Raving It Up (Then Boning Mid-Air)
Some spiders live their entire lives at an endless, sex-fueled rave. No, we're not talking about X-based tactile hallucinations. Some jumping spiders actually have built-in glow sticks, and they even use them to dance:
"As if dressed for a psychedelic rave, jumping spiders sport glowing patches on their bodies to lure in eight-legged mates, a new study finds."
And it gets better.
"But how?" you ask, "How is being an eight-legged predator that is also basically a living glow stick not the best thing ever?"
Well, easily enthused reader with confusing and frightening life goals, read on: Not only do jumping spiders use this UV dance to attract mates, there's one species that follows up by boning ... in mid-fucking-air. No other species of spider -- or really anything short of birds and nymphomaniacal Hawkmen -- does that. It goes like this: Dude dances, girl dances back a little, dude takes the sign and advances, girl drops a spider line, then they both climb down the sex-rope and begin banging right out in the open air like horny trapeze artists.
Via Akio Tanikawa
No spider porn here -- you'll just have to picture them fucking.
Yep, Portia spiders are the spiders you want to be, if you want a life of partying and glow-arms and Parkour-style aerosex.
Well, if you're a lady Portia, that is.
Because mid-copulation, the female twists around and eats the male, often before he's even finished. So how do they reproduce? Why, she simply harvests and saves his sperm for later.
Let's not get any ideas, ladies.
The whip spider, so named for the two front legs that have evolved into whiplike appendages, looks like a horrifying cross between a crab and Shelob from The Lord of the Rings. So what does this monster use those whips for? To scourge their enemies? To snare prey out of the air? Kinky spider sex? Nope: They use them to pet their children.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Wait, no, we misspelled "AAAHHHGG!"
The whip spider's feelers extend three to six times the length of their bodies, have full range of movement and are "capable of delicate tickle movements." And look: How adorable! The babies like to cuddle their mommies back, too.
Via Fox News
Not many displays of familial love make you itch just by looking at them.
It's not just a necessity of habitat, either. If you take them out of their home environment and put them in any new one, the family will all immediately run back together and start stroking each others' bodies and whips with their feelers. It's a fuzzy-wuzzy image of familial love that most of us have only seen at the end of '80s sitcoms and in stock photos.
It's like Thanksgiving, only with human eyes as the entrees.
But of course, when they turn into teenagers, they all hack each others' goddamn limbs off.
Ahhh, teamwork: From roommates tag-teaming the dishes, to good friends helping you move, to families bringing in the groceries together, it's teamwork that best defines us as human beings. You can find teamwork at the heart of every good relationship, every charitable impulse and yes, also in the hideous writhing claws of our spider friends.
Consider your nightmare tax paid in full.
Though cooperation isn't totally unheard of in arachnids, it is a rarity, and Theridion nigroannulatum practically embodies it. This species of spider opts not to go it alone, and instead lives as a nice, big ol' family, just teamworking it up like nobody's business.
Aw, that ...
... just made us love God a little bit less.
Okay, so it looks bad. Really, horribly, night-terrorishly bad -- like a set of the devil's Tinker Toys. But that doesn't mean the behavior is evil, right? It's not like their definition of "teamwork" is a several-thousand-spider-strong nest that hunts in packs, hiding beneath leaves and then scurrying out en masse -- thousands of spiders swarming and attacking at once -- to overwhelm and devour larger prey and oh wait, no, that's exactly what it is:
"The spiders carry their kill back to the nest and share it with all of the others in the community. It's truly remarkable. Not only do the spiders cooperate during the kill, but if the prey is large they take turns carrying it back."
Like this cameraman, who was immediately devoured for his intrusion.
Hey, that whole "bringing the groceries in" bit was pretty spot on, eh? We just forgot to mention that the "groceries" in question are murdered by thousands of venomous spiders beforehand.
You can challenge Dawn to a fight @DawnSmash. Or just ask her how her day's been. You know, whatever.
For more tiny terrors, check out The 6 Deadliest Creatures (That Can Fit In Your Shoe) and The 5 Most Horrifying Bugs in the World.
And be sure to check out Cracked's Page of Horror for hilariously horrifying articles like The 6 Creepiest Places on Earth and The 6 Creepiest Places on Earth (Part 2).