False widow spiders bite can transmit harmful antibiotic-resistant bacteria — ScienceDaily

A team of zoologists and microbiologists from NUI Galway have published a new study showing that common house spiders carry bacteria susceptible to infect people, with the Noble False Widow spiders also carrying harmful strains resistant to common antibiotic treatments.

This new research, published in the international journal Scientific Reports, confirms a theory which has been debated among spider and healthcare specialists for many years, and explains a range of symptoms experienced by victims bitten by the invasive noble false widow spider in Ireland and Britain over the past decade.

Australian Black Widows or Funnel Web spiders are well known for their potentially deadly venom, but rare “skin-eating” conditions following seemingly harmless European and North American spider bites were thought to be the result of secondary infections caused by the victim scratching and probing the bite site with contaminated fingers. This new study shows that not only do spiders

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New fiber optic sensors transmit data up to 100 times faster — ScienceDaily

EPFL engineers have developed an advanced encoding and decoding system that allows fiber optic sensors to send data up to 100 times faster and over a wider area. “Unlike conventional sensors that take measurements at a given point, like thermometers, fiber optic sensors record data all along a fiber,” says Luc Thévenaz, a professor at EPFL’s School of Engineering and head of the Group for Fibre Optics (GFO). “But the technology has barely improved over the past few years.”

Used widely in safety applications

Fiber optic sensors are commonly used in hazard detection systems, such as to spot cracks in pipelines, identify deformations in civil engineering structures and detect potential landslides on mountain slopes. The sensors can take temperature readings everywhere a fiber is placed, thereby generating a continuous heat diagram of a given site — even if the site stretches for dozens of kilometers. That provides crucial insight into

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Hungry screwworms eat livestock alive while thrips transmit viruses — ScienceDaily

The University of Cincinnati is decoding the genetics of agricultural pests in projects that could help boost crop and livestock production to feed millions more people around the world.

Joshua Benoit, an associate professor in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences, contributed to genetic studies of New World screwworms that feed on livestock and thrips, tiny insects that can transmit viruses to tomatoes and other plants.

It’s the latest international collaboration for Benoit, who previously sequenced the DNA for genomes of dreaded creatures such as bedbugs.

Just in time for Halloween, Benoit’s new study subject is no less creepy. The New World screwworm’s Latin name means “man-eater.” These shiny blue flies with pumpkin-orange eyes lay up to 400 eggs in open cuts or sores of cattle, goats, deer and other mammals. Emerging larvae begin gnawing away on their hosts, feeding on living and dead tissue and creating ghastly wounds.

“Sometimes

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