Spider makes use of movie of air to cover underwater for over half an hour

Last 12 months, we heard how anole lizards are capable of breathe underwater from an air bubble on their nostril. One of the scientists concerned in that examine has now documented a spider doing one thing comparable – though the bubble covers its entire physique.

Known by the scientific identify of Trechalea extensa, the big semi-aquatic spider’s pure habitat ranges from Mexico all the way down to Panama. And whereas it does enterprise to the water’s floor when foraging for prey, it had beforehand not been recognized for diving, and definitely not for utterly submerging itself.

That not too long ago modified, nonetheless, when Binghamton University’s Asst. Prof. Lindsey Swierk and colleagues noticed one of many land-living spiders fleeing from people by going underwater … and remaining there for over half-hour.

For that entire time, its physique was enveloped in a layer of air, which gave the impression to be held in place by a overlaying of hydrophobic (water-repelling) hairs. It’s nonetheless not clear if the spider was really respiratory that air, however the movie actually appeared to maintain the arachnid from drowning.

“The film of air might serve to keep the respiratory openings away from water, since these spiders are air-breathing,” mentioned Swierk. “The film of air might also help to minimize thermal loss to the cold stream water that the spider submerges itself in.”

A paper on the analysis – which additionally concerned Macy Petrula from California State University Sacramento, and Patricia Esquete from Portugal’s University of Aveiro – was not too long ago revealed within the journal Ethology.

Source: Binghamton University

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