Cobwebs are seen in corners of the house that have not been cleaned recently. We see our parents taking efforts to clean cobwebs. These differently shaped cobwebs are made by not an insect but an arachnid known as spider. Curiosity about spiders attracted Ashwin dada aka Ashwin Warudkar to study them. He went to forests and wild areas to understand the life of a spider. That’s why he is now known as Real Spiderman
Many people have nurtured their curiousity and studied nature. Their study has helped us understand the life around us. They are known as researchers in the field of environment. Studying your favourite subject can bring lot of happiness. One such young researcher is Ashwin Warudkar.
Friends, while cleaning the house if we see a spider, we quickly dust it. We even break its web. Spider webs joined between two trees are seen in parks and open areas.
As a small boy, Ashwin dada was curious about spiders. During his school days, used to observe spiders in his house and backyard. He would observe them making different webs and even feed them with houseflies and mosquitoes. He started checking how the spider weaves its web, how it gets the sticky substance for the web, what it eats. He started making notes of all spiders.
After finishing his school, he showed interest in studying spiders. His parents also encouraged him. He got enrolled in environmental science related course for his formal education. His friends started calling him spiderman. He is considered a walking encyclopedia on spiders.
Ashwin has studied spiders in the Western Ghats. Spiders can travel anywhere. They can be seen on bags, clothes. They adapt well to the changes in environment. We even have some spiders that glide with the web thread which looks as if they are flying. Each spider has a different way of catching its prey and designing the web.
The changes in the environment have modified a spider’s life. Ashwin feels that there is a need to check if the rise in the use of insecticides has led to reduction of spider’s prey base.
Ashwin did his BSc in zoology from Pune’s Fergusson College.
Then he did his MSc in wildlife from the Wildlife Institute Of India in Dehradun. These days, Ashwin is studying PhD at the prestigious IISER at Tirupati.
Along with spiders, Ashwin has also researched birds.
He is always studying and researching something because of his attraction towards wild animals, birds, insects.
Importantly, he is also a good storyteller. He can easily convey difficult and scientific information in very easy and common words to children. He is very popular among kids.
Diversity in spiders
Spiders can be found everywhere. There is a lot of research on them. Different types of spiders are seen in jungles, in homes. Researchers have studied almost 2,000 types of spiders.
Spiders are classified based on the type of web they weave. The shape and colours of webs are different. Spiders as tiny as ants or as large as our palms have been found. A large orb web building spider found in jungles is called Giant Wood Spider which has the strongest natural silk fibre.
Some make webs in tree holes, while others make funnel like webs above in ground. Some spiders weave webs like tents. Spiders are good hunters. They have the role of controlling insects. Spider’s web is a miraculous creation of nature, feels Ashwin.
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