South Florida (August 18, 2014) – There are many benefits from the existence of spiders that humans may not be aware of. As humans, it is easier for us to sympathize with the extinction of animals such as dolphins, tropical frogs, and polar bears. If the spider species ceased to exist, we would face possible famine. Spiders consume many insects, which allow our crops to be able to thrive. Without spiders, insects would take over and make farming difficult. Without the pest control that spiders provide, we would need to use a more chemical approach to crops, which would be particularly crucial in organic farming.
We are aware of the agricultural benefits of spiders, but there may be medical benefits as well. Spider venom contains hundreds and thousands of different chemical compounds, some of which might be medically active. More research needs to be done on the venom itself, but we may also find that some of these chemicals can be developed into beneficial drugs for treatment with cancer, muscular dystrophy, pancreatitis, and arthritis.
Next time you spot a spider, it may be helpful to think about their place in our ecosystem and its benefits.
Source: Brian Palmer, Naples Daily News