CT scans of the common male spider are showing the arachnid arthropod in unprecedented detail. Award-winning entomologist Professor Javier Alba-Tercedor produced the scans in his laboratory at the University of Granada. Jim Drury reports.
The common household spider as you've never seen it before. The entire anatomy of the arachnid predator was captured by award-winning entomologist Professor Javier Alba-Tercedor. He uses this scanner - the SkyScan 1172 - in his labratory at the University of Granada. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JAVIER ALBA-TERCEDOR, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GRANADA DEPARTMENT OF ZOOLOGY, SAYING: "Here there is an X-ray and a camera and the stage starts to rotate slowly, only 0.5 or even less degree each time, so in a scan of 180 degrees it can take so many pictures, and any time that it rotates it takes an X-ray photograph." Alba-Tercedor places each dead arachnid, on small, lightweight, polystyrene plinths that he cuts himself. The program removes the plinths from the 360 degree images. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR JAVIER ALBA-TERCEDOR, OF THE UNIVERSITY OF GRANADA DEPARTMENT OF ZOOLOGY, SAYING: "With software we can cut virtually the insect or the animal or any sample that you can imagine and even you can travel inside. You can go close up." Seeing magnified images of spiders found in the home might not make Alba-Tercedor popular with arachnophobes. But it's making him an unlikely pin-up for student entomologists around the globe.