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Spider legs build webs autonomously, without help from the brain – Review Geek



Araneus diadematus, the common garden spider studied by Fritz Vollrath and Thiemo Krink.
Araneus diadematus, the common garden spider, studied by Fritz Vollrath and Thiemo Krink. novama / Shutterstock

Spiders spend their time spinning perfect, intricate webs that are stronger than steel and more elastic than a rubber band. But this feat requires very little brainpower. A new study indicates that a spider̵

7;s legs operate without the supervision of its brain and construct webs with the same autonomy as a human heartbeat.

Filming and evaluating the movements of a common garden spider (Araneus diadematus, to be precise), researchers Fritz Vollrath and Thiemo Krink found that spider legs repeat a fixed ‘action pattern’ to measure and organize each web strand. Each leg acts as an independent agent during this building process, allowing the spider to search for predators and other threats. In the video below you can see an example of a spider web ‘action pattern’, along with a few words from researcher Thiemo Krink.

This decentralized web spinning helps explain how regrowing spider legs, which are rarely the same size or shape as the leg they replaced, spin perfect webs without any practice. Since the spider does not “know” how to build webs with its legs, it does not need to relearn web spinning if it gets a replacement leg.

Fritz Vollrath and Thiemo Krink hope this research can aid in the development of advanced robotic limbs, which can benefit from some automated functions. For example, a robotic limb can anticipate your intended movements, saving you time and effort that you would otherwise spend on micromanaging each of the prosthetic components.

Source: Fritz Vollrath and Thiemo Krink via The Royal Society Publishing, Phys.org




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