Scientists thought until recently that spiders couldn’t hear, at least not like mammals, but it turns out that jumping spiders are unique.
Recent research has revealed that these arachnids can hear from a several feet distance, although it was formerly believed they could hear only from a few inches away.
- Jumping spiders do not rely just on tactile touch and sight, but they also possess a sensory ability.
- They don’t have ears with eardrums, but their brain reacts at long-distance noises in the same way.
- Spiders use their hairs to sense anything happening around them.
According to researcher Paul Shamble, jumping spiders proved to have the same hearing accuracy as mammals, even if they don’t have ears.
He and his research partner Gil Menda found out by chance about this remarkable quality of spiders. At that time, they were conducting an experiment to measure the spider’s brain activity based on its sight.
When Menda with no intention made some noise using a chair, the spider’s brain activity intensified. Shamble immediately observed that on the brain sensor specially developed by them.
The device was designed to make sounds whenever the spider’s neurons fired. The sound made by the chair triggered something in the spider’s brain. According to Menda, this thing caught their attention, so they decided to perform another simple experiment to see whether the jumping spiders were indeed capable of hearing long distance noises.
First, Shamble clapped his hands in the proximity of the spider, so its neurons fired. Then, after backing up a bit he clapped his hands again, and to their surprise, the spider’s neurons fired again.
The team continued their studies and found out that jumping spiders are best able to hear any noise similar to the beating wings of wasps, which are spiders’ natural enemies. Also, they discovered that jumping spiders could hear sounds from up to a 10-feet distance.
Shamble further added that by touching the hairs on the spider’s legs, they got the same response from its brain. In other words, arachnids are able to detect movement and long-distance sounds thanks to their sensory hairs.
The team will continue their research to find out more about the jumping spiders, while the findings were published in the Current Biology journal.
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