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Old 12-14-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default Some Spiders Think on Their Feet! (So to speak)

From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute - Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

"The brains of tiny spiders are so large that they fill their body cavities and overflow into their legs, STRI researchers report. As part of ongoing research to understand how miniaturization affects brain size and behavior, researchers measured the central nervous systems of nine species of spiders, from rainforest giants to spiders smaller than the head of a pin. As the spiders get smaller, their brains get proportionally bigger, filling up more and more of their body cavities.

“The smaller the animal, the more it has to invest in its brain, which means even very tiny spiders are able to weave a web and perform other fairly complex behaviors,” said William Wcislo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. “We discovered that the central nervous systems of the smallest spiders fill up almost 80 percent of their total body cavity, including about 25 percent of their legs.”"
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:37 PM   #2
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And they look right at you!
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:50 PM   #3
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Very interesting. I'd never have guessed that. Hmm...if a spider loses a leg, can it regenerate it? I wonder what it would do to its brain power--missing even that small part of their brain.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
Hmm...if a spider loses a leg, can it regenerate it? I wonder what it would do to its brain power--missing even that small part of their brain.
Spiders can indeed regrow a lost limb, but the degree to which that can be accomplished depends upon the stage of growth at which the loss occurs - it takes more than one molt to fully regrow a lost limb, so that whereas a young spider with many molts ahead of it likely can fully regrow a limb, a spider nearing adulthood may not be able to do so.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:06 PM   #5
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Spiders can indeed regrow a lost limb, but the degree to which that can be accomplished depends upon the stage of growth at which the loss occurs - it takes more than one molt to fully regrow a lost limb, so that whereas a young spider with many molts ahead of it likely can fully regrow a limb, a spider nearing adulthood may not be able to do so.
Thanks, suunto. Some how that sounds so familiar that I wonder if I've asked it before...I think I did, when someone spotted a leg missing on a spider in a picture I took. I guess the older I get the less new information I retain--I really hope that is not true.
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