Without ‘ears’, how do spiders ‘listen’ and hunt for prey?

Spiders have no ears, but they can ‘hear’ vibrations through their legs. When prey or predators are moving, those vibrations are enhanced by the spider web. This is an invaluable advantage that helps spiders survive in the wild.

To arrive at this new study, the researchers housed a number of spiders in rectangular frames. Here, they freely create large spider webs for testing.

In the report, the researchers said: “We found a soft, wheel-shaped spider web that acts as an ultrasonic antenna to record the movements of air particles caused by sound.” .

Without 'ears', how do spiders 'listen' and hunt for prey?  - Photo 1.

Spider webs have the ability to gently rotate when receiving sound waves.

A laser vibrometer is used to measure the response of spider silk to music in an anti-echo chamber, a room designed to minimize reflections of sound waves. Measurements show that the webs move almost perfectly along with the sound and at the same time are capable of capturing the emitted sound.

Sounds of different frequencies and directions were tested with the spider’s web, and they soon received associated feedback from the spider. When they see something strange, the spiders often turn around, crouch or flatten in response. In the case of directional sound, the spider also rotates itself towards the location of the sound.

Further experiments with miniature loudspeakers placed near the edge of the web showed that sound travels farther through the web than through the air, and that some spiders respond to vibrations even before the sound has reached them. them in the air.

Without 'ears', how do spiders 'listen' and hunt for prey?  - Photo 2.

The mysteries of spider silk are still being studied by scientists.

Interestingly, the way the spider silk fibers respond to sound waves is different from the way a normal eardrum works. Humans and most other vertebrates have eardrums that convert sound wave pressure into electrical signals that are then decoded in our brains.

Insects and arthropods (including spiders) don’t have that eardrum, so spider webs can be an alternative. There may even be an ear hidden inside the spider’s body that is not yet understood by humans.

Observationally, the spiders seem to be able to tune the webs to actively pick up different frequencies of sound. There are many potential directions to explore from this arachnid mechanism. This helps scientists come up with innovative inventions for audio devices.

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