Spiders are already pretty much the creepiest things on earth, but a new study has added to the chills one particular species can give, writes Atlas Obscura.
Yu Zeng, a biomechanicist and evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Merced, and Sarah Crews, an entomologist at the California Academy of Sciences recently videotaped a member of the Selenopidae family of spiders, commonly known as wall crab or flattie spiders, performing an unbelievable act of physics.
The pair captured a Selenopide spider using torque and rotational inertia to spin around its prey at a rotational speed of up to 3,000 degrees per second, making them the fastest-spinning terrestrial animal on the planet.
Atlas Obscura writes that once “a flattie detects prey behind it by sensing changes in air currents, it takes it just one-eighth of a second to strike. As described in a paper published today in the Journal of Experimental Biology, the secret lies in how they use their thin, elongated legs.”
“We found that the leg nearest the prey anchors to the ground, creating a leverage point from which the spider can pull in its torso closer to the prey,” Zeng explained in a statement.
Using its legs to create torque, the spider then utilizes rotational inertia by drawing in their appendages to create a faster spin with increases in speed around 40 percent. “The result,” writes the website, “is the equivalent of three full spins in the time it just took you to blink your eyes.”
The discovery could help robot designers to build more efficient and speedier multi-legged robots and other machines that need to operate in confined spaces.
“By simply observing these spiders and their natural history, we were able to make new discoveries across disciplines,” Crews added. “You just never know what path science may lead you down next—some of the best discoveries are made by accident.”
That is all well and good, but it does not make spiders any less freakish.
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