Spider Power

The most perfect weapons are to be found amongst these super-agents of death…Welcome to the world’s ultimate arms race.

Produced by NHNZ

Spiders have been maligned in folklore, superstition and children’s literature for centuries. To dream of them was said to signal betrayal, to see one would bring ill fortune, to kill one was to summon the wrath of nature. Yet as Spider Power reveals, the truth about these remarkable animals is stranger and more macabre than any myth or legend.

Strange as they may be, spiders have been around for 400 million years, they inhabit every environment on Earth except Antarctica and at any given moment you are probably never further away than six feet from a spider. They may appear alien, but they have definitely invaded this planet.

The world of these miniature super-predators is brought to life in Spider Power through the use of set work, macro-photography, slow motion sequences and ground-breaking computer generated imaging.

Spider Power traces the evolution of arachnid attack mechanisms: from most basic, the thugs and brutes of the spider world; right through to spiders that can plan and predict an attack – smart spiders.

Beginning with the tarantula, possibly the most feared and loathed spider of all. While frightening to behold, the tarantula’s senses are dull, its intelligence is low, it is the ‘caveman’ of the spider world and its hunting ability is limited.

But primitive spiders can only hunt prey on the ground. Like ancient infantry they can only triumph in one theatre of war. A poor old tarantula could never catch a foe as challenging as a fly.

Further up the evolutionary ladder are spiders that can build advanced webs and snares, giving them the opportunity to catch flying insects, something the poor old tarantula could never hope to do.

Take the example of the black widow, her seemingly messy and random web is actually a highly sophisticated design allowing her to catch prey as big as scorpions and lizards.

While both tarantulas and black widows are rightly feared for their awesome attacking powers, one spider, above all else embodies the evolutionary future of these amazing creatures – the Portia jumping spider.

It does not have the brawn of the tarantula, or the web of the black widow. What makes Portia deadly is its brain.

Portia preys on other spiders, and instead of a single attack strategy this spider assesses each individual situation, formulating the best method before going in for the kill. This could be head on, from behind, or dropping in from above.

There are many more stories about the violent, ingenious and deadly practices of spiders. Spider Power gives viewers the chance to get closer to these remarkable and strange creatures than it was ever thought possible. But the question remains: how close is too close?

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