News stories caught spiders in a web of misinformation – Globe News Insider

Even spiders seem to fall victim to misinformation.
Media reports of spider encounters tend to be riddled with falsehoods with an overtly negative perspective. After analyzing newspaper articles from dozens of countries for 10 years, Almost half of the reports contain errorsarachnologist Katherine Scott and colleagues report Aug. 22 biology today.
“Most of the spider content out there is about them being scared and hurting people,” says Scott of McGill University in Montreal. ‘ said.
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Of the approximately 50,000 known species of spiders, few are dangerous. Instead, many spiders benefit us by eating mosquito-like insects that are harmful to humans. Some stories of bites blamed spiders that didn’t occur in the area, while others reported symptoms that didn’t match those of actual bites. Many of the stories of spider bites included no evidence that spiders were involved,” they say.
To conduct the research, Scott and colleagues analyzed over 5,000 online newspaper articles about humans and spiders across 81 countries from 2010 to 2020. In addition to the error, the team determined that 43% of his stories were sensational, often using words like: nasty killer, pain When nightmareInternational and national newspapers tended to sensationalize spiders more than regional newspapers. Stories involving spider experts were not sensational, but other experts, including doctors, had no such effect.
If people knew the truth about spiders, they could spend less time killing and killing spiders with pesticides that are toxic to many other species, including humans, Scott says. Cleaning up is good for spiders, too. Spiders are generally in a position to profit because news helps shape public opinion, which can influence decisions about wildlife conservation, researchers conclude.
“Spiders are unique in their ability to grab people’s attention,” says Lisa Taylor, an arachnologist at the University of Florida, Gainesville. “When that attention is combined with real information about how attractive spiders are, rather than sensational hoaxes, spiders are well suited to serve as small ambassadors for wildlife in general. I think.”
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