black widow must Despise Clint Sergi. While working on a PhD in biology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Sergi spent a lot of time designing small challenges for spiders—often including rewarding them with tasty dead crickets, or confusing them by stealing them. “The biggest question that inspired this work was wondering what’s going on inside the brains of animals,” he said.
Biologists already know that spider brains are not like human brains. Their sensory world is suited to living in the internet and dark corners. “Humans are very visual animals,” Sergi said. “These web-building spiders are almost Do not imagine. They have eyes, but they are mostly good at sensing light and movement. Instead, he said, Black Widow’s perception comes mostly from vibrations, kind of like hearing. “Their legs are kind of like ears and can pick up vibrations through a network.” “
On the cognitive front, biologists know that these spiders remember when they have caught prey. Some scientists, including Sergi, believe they can even form mental representations of networks. However, little is known about how detailed their memories are, or how past events influence their future decisions. So Serge and his advisor Rafa Rodriguez, an expert on spider cognition, decided to put Black Widow’s memory to the test. As you might guess, Sergi will offer dead crickets to spiders and then steal them back.
As a result, they wrote in their diaries Behaviour, suggesting that Black Widow’s memory is better than previously known. When their prey is stolen, the spiders repeatedly seek it out in the right places. In some cases, they seemed to be able to recall the size of their prey—more on the hunt for the largest stolen treats. “They don’t just use fixed behavioral patterns to respond to specific stimuli,” Sergi said. “They have the ability to make decisions.”
The work is a reminder that complex cognitive computing is common in the animal kingdom—internal navigation systems are present in brains large and small, including those that rely on vastly different sensory inputs. “This suggests that arthropods are capable of encoding complex memories that people often associate with vertebrates,” said Johns Hopkins behavioral neuroscientist Andrew Gordus, who was not involved in the work. “Invertebrates are much more complex than we thought.”
sergi’s result added Evidence is mounting that insects and spiders form and act on detailed memories, similar to the way humans do, but using very different mechanisms. We orient ourselves with ‘place cells’ in the hippocampus, which arthropods lack. However, Godus said, “their brain regions have evolved to perform the same function.”
Your central nervous system contains the spinal cord and a 3-pound brain. Spiders have two groups of neurons called ganglia: one above and one below the esophagus.Key inputs to this brain come from thousands of sensors on the spider’s exoskeleton called With slit Sensi. Each looks like a tiny crack, deforming as vibrations sweep through the spider’s body. (Some evidence suggests that widows can tune to different frequencies by adjusting their posture.) Spiders perceive vibrations so well that it’s even unclear whether the spidersnetwork part of its brain.