BOSTON— Yummy pests, keep an eye out: In an effort to capture victim, a speed-demon spider launches itself and its web with about 100 times the velocity of a cheetah.
That makes these small animals, called slingshot spiders, the fastest-moving arachnids understood, researchers reported March 4 at a conference of the American Physical Society.
Found in the Peruvian Amazon, slingshot spiders weave cone-shaped webs. These webs have a single hair connected to the pointer of the cone, which the spider draws in to increase the stress. When the spider senses a possible meal, it launches the web. The spider and web together zing forward, capturing the victim. “Easily, our spider has supper,” biophysicist Symone Alexander of Georgia Tech stated at the conference.
Utilizing portable high-speed video cameras to capture the spiders’ movement, Alexander and coworkers clocked the spiders at an optimal speed of about 4 meters per second. That’s close to the speed of a running human. “It’s a good idea … we’re not their target,” Alexander stated of the spiders, a types in the household Theridiosomatidae. Other spiders understood for their speediness appear sluggish in contrast, like the Moroccan flic-flac spider, which cartwheels far from threat at speeds of about 2 meters per second.
The slingshot spider’s optimum velocity is over 1,100 meters per 2nd squared. Cheetahs, by contrast, speed up at approximately 13 meters per 2nd squared, Alexander stated. So that’s a stat that puts the fleet-footed felines to pity ( SN: 3/3/18, p. 8).
WEB SLINGER The slingshot spider launches itself and its web by drawing in a thread connected to the web’s center, and after that launching it. Researchers studying this movement identified it is the fastest spider motion yet taped.