Spiders Don’t Have Ears, But Can They Sense Sounds?
Spiders. We either love them, barely tolerate them, or outright hate them. So many people are freaked out when they come across a spider. Me? They don't bother me at all. Just stay out of my shower is all I ask.
Do you suppose they would listen if I did ask a spider to leave before I physically removed it from my shower or another unwanted place? Well, of course not. Spiders can't hear. Or can they?
According to a study at Binghamton University, spiders can sense sounds, through the aid of their web. Professor Ron Miles is a member of the Binghamton University Department of Mechanical Engineering faculty member at the Thomas J. Watson College of Science and Applied Science has been exploring this possibility for several years, according to the Binghamton University website.
If you've ever disturbed a spider web with a spider on it, you've most likely seen it react, but may have thought it was just the movement of the web alone that caused a reaction from the spider. According to the BU article:
"A newly published study of orb-weaving spiders — the species featured in the classic children’s book “Charlotte’s Web” — has yielded some extraordinary results: The spiders are using their webs as extended auditory arrays to capture sounds, possibly giving spiders advanced warning of incoming prey or predators."- BingUNews
Professor Miles notes that one strand of spider silk can pick up the movement of vibrating air particles that make up a soundwave because of the fact that it is so thin and sensitive.
The Binghamton University study was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, stating this is the first finding that a spider can outsource hearing to its web. The researchers used a soundproof room for their experiments.
The details of this five-year study are remarkable, and you can check it out on the Binghamton University website.
via Binghamton University, PNAS