Sunday, 19 May 2019

Catapulting spider winds up web to launch itself at prey: study



MAY 13, 2019
by Issam Ahmed
A study published Monday has found that at least one arachnid species is capable of winding up its web to store up elastic energy, before releasing its grip and catapulting itself at furious speed toward its unsuspecting prey The ability to store and amplify muscular energy in external devices like bows, bolt-throwers and catapults was long thought to be unique to humans. Now, though, we can add the triangle-weaver spider, or Hyptiotes cavatus, to the list, according to a study published Monday, May 13, 2019 that describes how the creature winds up its web to launch itself at prey.
Just when you thought spiders couldn't get any more terrifying.
A study published Monday has found that an arachnid species is capable of winding up its web to store up elastic energy, before releasing its grip and catapulting itself at furious speed toward its unsuspecting prey.
The development places the triangle-weaver spider, or Hyptiotes cavatus, alongside humans as the other known species to amplify muscular energy with external devices, a feat people achieve with crossbows or ballistae.
Researcher Sarah Han, a doctoral student at the University of Akron in Ohio, said she had been intrigued by the spider during her walks in the woods.
"It did this interesting mechanism while hunting we didn't really know that much about," she told AFP. "People had written about it in an observational way, but no one had quantified it."
Han and colleagues observed the spiders under lab conditions, recording high-speed videos of them as they hunted flies.


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