There are spiders that are very aggressive and even reckless, while others are less violent and more prudent. There are also large and small spiders. But the largest spiders are not necessarily the ones that allow themselves to be aggressive, as a recent investigation has shown.
Despite their terrifying appearance, the large-bodied Trichonephila clavata spiders, now common in areas such as the southeastern United States, may hold the record for arachnid cowardice, judging by the results of this study.
Andy Davis and Amitesh Anerao, both from the University of Georgia in the United States, compared the reactions of more than 450 spiders from 10 different species to a brief, harmless disturbance.
To examine the spiders’ reaction to a fleeting sign of possible danger, the researchers used a syringe to shoot two short puffs of air at each spider.
The spiders ceased their activity and remained immobile, probably to better detect any telltale vibrations in their environment and perhaps also to try to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
While most spiders remained immobile for just over a minute before resuming their normal activities, Trichonephila clavata spiders remained immobile for over an hour.
While most spiders come out of their alert state and begin to move about a minute and a half after a fleeting signal of possible danger ceases, spiders of the species Trichonephila clavata remain immobile for more than an hour in that state of alertness. alert. (Photo: Peter Frey/UGA)
“They basically stand still and wait for the danger to go away,” Davis sums up. “Our study shows that these spiders are actually more afraid of humans than we are of them.”
In fact, Trichonephila clavata spiders are relatively harmless to people and their pets. They do not bite unless they are cornered with no chance to escape. And even if they do bite a person, their venom-injecting fangs will likely fail to pierce the skin.
In the experiments, the only other species of spider that after the signal of possible danger did not dare to move for much longer than normal was one with a close evolutionary relationship, Trichonephila clavipes.
Trichonephila clavata spiders are native to Asian countries such as Japan and China. Their presence in Georgia, United States, dates back more or less to the year 2013. It is believed that they arrived there by accident, hidden in a cargo container.
Since then, the species has spread rapidly throughout the state and through much of the southeastern United States. It is estimated that there are now millions of these spiders.
The study is titled “Startle Responses of Jorō Spiders (Trichonephila clavata) to Artificial Disturbance”. And it has been published in the academic journal Arthropoda. (Fountain: NCYT by Amazings)