Spiders getting bigger, ants dying out in hotter cities

Black roads that absorb heat are killing ant populations, making spiders bigger and causing premature human mortality, too, mainly among the young and old.

There’s growing research and more diverse research into the impacts of the growing heat in our cities.

Our cities are 6 or more degrees hotter in summer because of black roads, no tree cover and dark roofs.

At least two PhDs are underway into these impacts in Sydney; one by Matthias Irger into the different impacts of different surfaces and buildings on temperatures, and another into the impact on the size and proliferation of spiders – preliminary research by Elizabeth Lowe indicates some are getting bigger.

Research in Perth, WA, shows that many ant populations are extinct due to the urban heat island – it’s often over 72 degrees at soil level on roads there, too hot for the ants to survive.

More on this later in the year as the research becomes available.  Til then, be cool,


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  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
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