Menu

Super Sensitive Spider Sensilla

Researchers measure the responsiveness of a spider’s slit sensilla, sensory organs embedded in the exoskeleton that sense vibrations.

Oct 28, 2011
Jef Akst

Brazilian wandering spiderWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, TECHUSER

You can’t tiptoe past a spider this Halloween. It will detect even the tiniest vibrations, according to a new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

An adult female Cupiennius salei, the Central American wandering spider, has more than 3,000 slit sensilla, or strain sensors, on its body. Located mostly on the legs and near the leg joints, the sensors can detect vibrations in the surrounding substrate, helping them to catch prey even in the dark of night.

The sensilla are comprised of minute parallel slits. Nearby vibrations result in physical forces that compress and stimulate the sensors. Clemens F. Schaber of the University of Vienna and his colleagues used powerful optical and micro-force measurements and found that the sensory organs responded to forces as small as 0.01 milliNewtons—less than half a percent of the body weight of a typical cockroach.

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.