Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quite a Toolbox

Jumping spiders make up the largest family of arachnids. There are over 5000 different species. They are particularly colorful and some are quite hairy, as seen here on B’s toolbox. 100_7551crop

Spiders use their hairs and some pits and slits to sense their world. Unlike most spiders, jumping spiders also have good eyesight. The hairs are used for tasting and sensing vibrations and holding on to prey and mates; the pits and slits help with memorizing directionality, moisture and temperature detection and body coordination.  Some tarantulas use hairs around their mouth to make whistling sounds to warn attackers or attract a mate. (Wolf spider whistles?) Some spiders actually fling their barbed hairs into attackers, allowing escape.  Some of these tools that spiders employ through their hairs give a whole new meaning to “having a bad hair day.”

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