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A new study shows that spiders facing ogres can hear good sounds



The research team said that these spiders use the receptors on their legs to detect sounds at least 6.5 feet away from the sound source and are sensitive to frequencies up to 10 kHz.

Through on-site laboratory tests and observations, scientists have discovered that in the same low-frequency range as the wing beats of moths, mosquitoes and flies, auditory stimulation prompts spiders to “backward blow”, which is one of their iconic hunting actions One.

According to the researchers, this suggests that spiders use auditory cues to detect and capture prey in flight.

The co-author of the study, Cornell University neurobiology and behavioral postdoctoral fellow Jay Stafstrom (Jay Stafstrom) said: “These spiders are a very long unexplored information gold mine.”

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“The visual functions they have are not on the map. Right now, they show good hearing. I think there is still a lot to know about their future development.”

It’s like “Jekiel and Hyde”

Spiders facing ogres are tropical creatures found all over the world, including southern states such as Florida, including the United States.

However, you are unlikely to notice them in your backyard because they camouflage as plant leaves during the day and do not become active until night.

Ronald Hoy, professor of neurobiology and behavior at Cornell University and senior research author, told CNN: “The metaphor is Jekyll and Hyde.”

“At daytime, this creature will die. At night, this creature will kill, prey, and hunt. Its personality is determined by the sun or the moon.”

Dramatic hunter

Unlike other spiders that build a network to capture food, the spiders that the ogres face are casters, hunted in a more active and dramatic way.

They built an A-shaped frame net, hung them upside down at night, and caught their prey with the net-like net held by their legs.

The spider facing the ogre uses its developed vision and hearing to actively hunt prey.

Stavstrom said that a spider facing an ogre will attack forward to capture prey below, and attack backward to capture prey flying above.

He explained that the two hunting methods depend on different feelings.

“It seems that there is a good partition in the sensory system. They rely on vision to specifically capture objects on the ground, and their auditory ability allows them to capture objects in the air.”

According to the researchers, spiders do not have ears, but spiders facing ogres can hear sounds through the receptors on their legs (including leg hair).

Sound and threat detection

Studies have shown that the response of a spider facing an ogre to sound depends on its frequency.

They will respond to the low-frequency sound with the same range of flapping of the animal’s wings as the prey, and perform “backward blow” to find food. However, when they heard high-frequency sounds commensurate with the range of bird calls, the spider did not move.

This does not mean that spiders cannot hear high-frequency sounds-scientists conducted laboratory experiments to monitor spider brain activity in response to sounds to confirm that they can actually hear sounds.

Instead, scientists suspect that spiders might ignore these sounds for self-defense, and they hope to conduct further research in the future.

“We know that birds eat a lot of spiders. I have seen a lot of spiders in their palms, and they happen to be singing in the high frequency range that these spiders can detect. So this may be an early warning sign, well, maybe soon Something will swallow me.” Stafstrom said.

Test spider’s hearing

Like researchers, it is not easy to monitor spider responses to auditory stimuli through nanotechnology electrodes inserted into the brain and legs.

Hoy said that the process of inserting electrodes into the spider’s brain without killing the spider requires skilled preparation and “watchmaker’s hands.”

He owes this special talent to Gill Menda, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University.

Roy explained that developing a method to record spider brain activity allowed the Cornell University research team to convincingly prove that spiders are not only sensitive to vibrations, but also sensitive to distant sounds.

Looking for spiders in their natural habitat

Researchers also conducted observations in the wild, studying the behavior of spiders in their natural habitat.

Living in a habitat with nocturnal spiders is not the most comfortable experience, but Stafstrom did it enthusiastically.

In this study, he spent a week in the woods in Gainesville, Florida, equipped with headlights, Bluetooth speakers, which can play sounds for spiders through a smartphone, and use a camera to capture their reactions.

Stavstrom has accumulated experience camping with spiders during the whole learning process.

As a PhD student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “I spent two months alone in a tent in Florida in mid-summer. It was very difficult, my sleep schedule was strange, but it was definitely The best way to study these spiders.” He said.

In another field mission in Costa Rica, Stavstrom was actually bitten by a spider facing an ogre.

Stavstrom said: “I may have the world record for the only person bitten by these spiders.”

He said that the bite is harmless-just itching for a while.

Spiders and technology

According to Hoy and Stafstrom, we still don’t know much about spiders, and this is the gap we need to fill.

Researchers believe that studying how spiders and other small animals can see and hear can further promote new discoveries and the application of nanotechnology.

Stafstrom said: “If we can figure out the devices they are using and how they process information, we should be able to use bionic technology to transform them into better biosensors, better directional microphones or vision processing algorithms.”

Hoy added: “The point is that the life of any understudied and undervalued group is fascinating, even an annoying spider, we can learn something from it.


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