When you think of spiders and senses, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Their eyesight? After all, they do come with eight eyes – and that’s a lot to keep watch on everything we’re doing. However, it turns out these spiders have great hearing – even though they have no ears.
The spiders in question
The spider at the center of the story is the ogre-faced spider. They have huge eyes and apparently impressed whoever was behind their name. Still, it seems these spiders have something else special to their name. Recent studies seem to show that ogre-faced spiders might actually be able to hear. There’s just one problem: spiders don’t have ears.
Spotting the pattern
Researcher in neurobiology Jay Stafstrom is one of the many people who have noticed the pattern with ogre-faced spiders and their attacks. Like many spiders, these all wait for their prey to come to them, but they have something different up one of their many sleeves. It turns out that ogre-faced spiders will dangle from various vegetation as they wait for something to fly a little too close. As soon as something is within reach, ogre-faced spiders flip backward to catch their prey in a sticky net.
Running an experiment
Jay Stafstrom was so impressed by ogre-faced spiders that he decided to run an experiment on the group to see what really helps them catch their prey. He used tiny pieces of silicone to cover their eyes and then set them back in position. Jay instantly noticed something strange was at play as the spiders could still flip and catch their prey even though they couldn’t see. Jay proposed the spiders must have great hearing – even though they have no ears. Instead, it’s now thought that spiders have nerve-based receptors on their legs that pick up soundwaves and send them to the brain, just like our ears.
Testing things in the field
It didn’t take long for Jay to wonder how well ogre-faced spiders can hear. He decided the best way to do this was to study the spiders in their natural habitat in Florida. Here, Jay played various frequencies from six feet away to see how they would react. Whenever there was a low-frequency noise, something like an insect flying, the spiders would jump to try and catch their prey. Whenever there was a high-frequency noise, something like a predator, they stayed still to remain undetected.
Advancements for humans
Not only have Jay’s experiments show that ogre-faced spiders have great hearing, but it could also mean humans can advance even more than before. Jay and other experts believe this could be the kind of information we need to make hypersensitive microphones and other hearing apparatus.
Ogre-faced spiders threw a wrench in the works when it turned out they have great hearing even though they have no ears. Amazingly, this has taught the world there is so much we still don’t know about the critters in this world. Who would have thought they could be hiding something so big?