No Jetlags for These Spiders, They Just Have to Manipulate Their Body Clocks

Khryss | Published 2017-12-03 08:13

And trust me, they could reset it easily!

A blessing or a curse? Certain species of spider have fvcked up biological clocks that result to some sort of jetlag which lasts for more than five hours every morning. But these arachnids turned these unfortunate adversities into a special talent.

The most common type of spiders are small orb-weaver spiders which create great circular webs. These nocturnal hunt their prey and recreate a clean web during the pre-dawn hours. Biologist Darrell Moore of East Tennessee State University and his team wanted to study their rhythms so they've observed the activity patterns of a closely related orb-weaver species.

Using infrared sensors, they were able to see the spiders' lifestyle as these live in the lab's glass tubes placed in a dark area. Surprisingly, three of the species had only 17.4, 18.5, and 19 hours biological clocks! What's more is that two of them have conversely very slow clocks with 28.2 and 28.5 hours respectively. Now there's also this one special little buddy that is completely arrhythmic which means they don't have an internal at all.

“We’ve never seen a circadian clock remotely like this,” said Natalia Toporikova of Washington and Lee University, who was part of the study.

Next, researchers conducted shift experiments wherein they either advance or delay daylight by 6 hours. With this, they found that the spiders' adjustment time is only within 24 hours. That's very fast compared to other animals that would likely be jetlagged and out of sync for about a week.

This shorter circadian rhythm may be an adaptation for survival as this prevents them from being eaten by predators. In daylight, the spider just hangs on its web to be as inconspicuous as possible to the attackers. But when the darkness comes, they become so active, hunting prey and rebuilding their webs. Moreover, when they were kept in darkness, they're weird and amazing body clocks cue to move before sundown.

“Shorter periods are great for getting up earlier for early food sources and if food comes out right at dawn, it is likely important to get up early enough to build a fantastic web,” says Sigrid Veasey of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. What ill effects this causes, however, is still unknown.

If only humans can do that. I bet we'd be more productive.

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