Nerd Nite Madison: Golden orb weavers (audio)

UW-Madison grad student Meghan Fitzgerald on the wonders of Nephila spiders.

UW-Madison grad student Meghan Fitzgerald on the wonders of Nephila spiders.


We’ve been working with the organizers of Nerd Nite Madison to capture some of the informal but esoteric talks they host each month (with a break for summer) at the High Noon Saloon. The next Nerd Nite Madison event is coming up on August 26 at 8 p.m., but first, we have for your listening enjoyment Meghan Fitzgerald’s April 2015 Nerd Nite talk about the Nephila genus of spiders. Fitzgerald, who is working on her PhD in zoology at UW-Madison and has done field work on Nephila spiders in Costa Rica, explain why these spiders have proven so fascinating throughout history, from their coveted thread to their journeys on the International Space Station to their occasional tendency to eat birds. Also discussed: The “spider goat,” and a totally different spider that does a “Y.M.C.A.” mating dance (yeah, just hearing “Y.M.C.A.” out of nowhere doesn’t translate well but the video Fitzgerald is playing actually is pretty cute). We’ve also posted Fitzgerald’s slides from the event below, so that you can see the insane spider harness an enterprising Frenchman invented in the 18th century, among other things.

Get your new monthly donation matched 24x!

tone madison logo in blue and yellow

At a time when Madison is going through a lot of change, we want Tone Madison to be something you can count on. You can rely on us to spotlight the artists, musicians, and ideas that make up the fabric of our city. You can rely on us to challenge the status quo with inventive, adversarial journalism, including our coverage of abortion rights, housing, and labor. 


But here's the thing: reader support is crucial our survival. We'll keep writing the articles you love (or love to hate) for as long as we can—but we need your help to keep our small, independent publication going.


If you make a new monthly donation today, NewsMatch will match it 24x! Will you help us continue to tell Madison's stories?

Maybe later

Help us give our local arts scene the attention it deserves.

Become a sustainer today and get your new monthly donation matched 24x.

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top