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How a spider jumps on its prey – science has the answer



  Kim the spider

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University of Manchester

Caption

Kim the spider

Scientists have trained a spider to jump when needed.

The tiny Arachnida, nicknamed "Kim" by Kim, can jump six times faster.

Humans Can Only Make 1

.5 Body Lengths Unveiling the secrets of their extraordinary jumps could help build a new generation of nature-inspired robots, say researchers at the University of Manchester.

The royal jumping spider ( Phidippus regius ) is known for its ability of precision leaps on prey, including insects and small invertebrates.

It's one of thousands of jumping spiders found around the world actively hunting instead of catching prey in a web. They have an excellent view with four large eyes in front and four smaller eyes on the head.

The research team filmed the leaping arachnida with high-tech cameras to discover the secrets of their extraordinary locomotion.

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Scientific Reports

They also performed 3D CT scans to create a model of the spider legs and body structure.

They found that the spider uses different jumping strategies, including a faster, lower trajectory for speed and accuracy, but at other times, more energy-efficient jumps over a longer distance.

"She will jump at the optimal angle, which means that she can understand the challenge she is facing," said study researcher. Mostafa Nabawy.

"And then she can measure her jumping performance at the start to make a jump that is optimal in terms of energy demand."

Precision Jumping

Scientists recruited a number of female spiders for their work,

but only Kim commits to make the necessary jumps by introducing them to a launch pad they built in the lab.

The data from the videos was analyzed to understand the forces behind the jump and how they were generated.

"The power to take off when lifting can be up to five times the weight of the spider – that's amazing and if we understand this biomechanics we can apply it to other research areas," Dr. Nabawy, an aviation engineer interested in developing new types of flying and jumping robots.

"Spiders have to plan everything, they have to make precise jumps and precise jumps to reach their destination [prey] as soon as possible and as ac as carefully as possible."

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Scientific Reports [19659014] Their jumps were based on muscle power alone, not on hydraulic pressure (pumping fluid in the legs to increase muscle strength), which was damped by some spiders as a mechanism [19659007] The role of hydraulic movement in spiders therefore remains an open question ,

"Our findings suggest that although Kim can move her legs hydraulically, she does not need the extra power from the hydraulics to achieve her extraordinary jumping performance," said co-researcher, Dr Bill Crowther.

The research is published in the journal, Scientific Reports.

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