Maybe shouting could actually scare away that spider you saw in the corner as latest study reveals them to possess a fine hearing system.
Spiders, contrary to most common belief can actually hear, just in a different way than that familiar to us. The tiny creatures can hear with the help of the vibrations transmitted through the air, and according to a new study, their hearing is finer than we thought.
Until now, scientists believed that the arachnids could only detect the vibrations near them, but as new data shows, it turns out their range extends to a good several feet, maybe even up to a considerable distance.
Spiders were thought to navigate their world more through the use of sight and tactile indicators, but as it turns out, they may just as well use their hearing.
The arachnid’s surprising new trait was discovered quite by accident by a pair of scientists doing research on the jumping spider. The two, Paul Shamble and Gil Menda,` stumbled upon the piece of information when working at Cornell University.
Their initial study revolved around the spider’s brain activity when forced to process visual stimuli. The partners were perfecting a new measuring technique that was set to release sound effects when the spider neurons started firing.
Following a loud squeaking noise produced by Menda after dragging a chair, their machine started releasing the pre-programmed signals, which in turn revealed that a deep portion of the jumping arachnid’s brain had been excited.
In order to test their unexpected find, the two started discussing the previously accepted theory and decided to clap their hands when close to the spider. Then Shamble got further away and repeated the action. In both cases, their machine started signaling that the jumping spider’s neurons had fired.
The researchers continued the new line of study and found out that the respective spiders are best equipped for the long distance hearing of a parasitoid wasp’s beating wings, their natural enemies.
They also set out to determine how the spiders were perceiving the long distance sounds after they established that they can hear sounds situated even 10 feet away.
As arachnids lack the eardrums and ears associated with long distance hearing, test showed that the spider’s legs have single sensory hairs on their legs that seem to catch both the close and the far away sound registers, as by moving the hairs in a back and forth direction, the scientist garnered a neuronal fire from the spider.
More studies will be made, but scientists are inclined to believe that the jumping spider’s fine hearing is not a separate trait, but a common element throughout the arachnid world and they will probably set out to prove this.
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