How afraid are folks of spiders? According to a survey done by a University of California at Riverside professor, even some people who study insects are petrified of the eight-legged arthropods.
Professor Richard Vetter recently looked into the prevalence of arachnophobia in entomologists – individuals who work with bugs regularly.
According to a report of Vetter’s study published in American Entomologist, Vetter surveyed 41 self-described arachnophobic entomologists and found that they react differently to spiders than to insects, with some stating that they react to spiders in an almost debilitating manner.
Some of the arachnophobic entomologists said their fear developed in childhood, well before making the choice to pursue a career in entomology, according to the website RedOrbit.
“The results of the study show that arachno-adverse entomologists share with arachnophobes in the general public both the development of response and the dislike of many of the behavioral, physical, and aesthetic aspects of spiders,” said Vetter, an entomologist himself.
“Paradoxically, I found that despite the great morphological diversity that insects exhibit and despite years of professional exposure to insects, these entomologists do not assimilate spiders into the broad arthropod morphological scheme,” he continued. “However, for the most part these entomologists realized that their feelings could not be rationally explained.”
The article also revealed several amusing arachnophobia-related anecdotes, including some from respondents that regularly work with maggots and other creatures that most people would consider extremely unappealing.
“I would rather pick up a handful of maggots than have to get close enough to a spider to kill it,” one respondent told Vetter.