What is going on in the head of the spider?

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[EN VIDÉO] The “invisibility cloak” of a small Australian jumping spider
Arasia mullion is a jumping spider that lives in New South Wales, eastern Australia. It builds hiding places from its web and wood debris that makes it nearly invisible when you slide into it. Exquisite and unprecedented behavior makes Harry Potter invisibility cloak almost real.

Four pairs of legs and usually no less than eight eyes. Sometimes its length is several centimeters. But most often, it is barely a millimeter. It’s the spider. which scares everyone. Finally, at least for about 5% of the population. True arachnophobia in which fear becomes panic.

To get rid of like this phobiawhen the idea of ​​crossing a spider Leads to cold sweats and rapid heartbeat, you should consider going through Psychiatric treatment It is called cognitive behaviour. But, if you are simply afraid in front of a spider, then it is said that getting to know them can greatly help in overcoming these feelings. Know, for example, that spiders are formidable predators. Oh, see you coming. Predators, yes, but for the most part, are harmless to humans. What spiders catch are insects. Those who destroy our cultures. Or, quite simply, the mosquitoes that tend to spoil our summer evenings.

By the way, two species of spiders seem to especially like mosquitoes. They go so far as to ignore other insects that come their way. Researchers call them highly specialized predators. Because the former only cares about mosquito larvae hidden inside the bamboo. The second feeds almost exclusively female mosquito…stained with blood. It also seems to be a way for this funny spider – who is also attracted by the smell of dirty socks – to decorate himself with a fragrance that will attract potential sexual companions.

red-bellied mosquito

This spider’s nickname is Evarcha culicivora. It’s a jumping spider around Lake Victoria (Kenya and Uganda). It measures no more than five millimeters. But you will understand why it is called a vampire spider!

Scientists have spent years observing it in its natural environment. Thus they noticed his fondness for mosquitoes. And even more so, for mosquitoes that have… a belly bright red For us humans, this is a clear sign that the mosquito in question has just finished a delicious blood meal. But to try to understand what’s going on in the heads of these spiders, the researchers imagined an experiment.

They gave some mosquitoes sugar water colored red to drink. For others, the same sugar water, this time tinged with gray. The first came out with red bellies. Second, the belly is gray. Without hesitation, spiders began to hunt those who drank the red water. Way to prove that the smell of mosquitoes, therefore, does not play any role in the choice of food for these young vampires. One more step to finally understand how spiders can fix their attention and make decisions. with if little brain And a sensory system is radically different from ours. One more step, perhaps to show that spiders… aren’t that stupid!

Coincidentally – or not much, in fact – researchers’ efforts to better understand what goes on in the heads of mosquito-eating spiders could shed light on the fight against this disease. disease-carrying insect.

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