They discover a spider that ‘thinks it’s a frog’

The best way to escape terrestrial predators is to dive into the water. That’s where aquatic predators come into play, but that’s another question. The fact is that many animals opt for this type of escapism, as long as it does not mean that they die frozen or drowned. It is natural to see it in amphibians, but not so much in spiders. Therefore, an international team of scientists was very surprised when the arachnid they were trying to capture in Costa Rica he dove into a stream trying to avoid them. She not only managed to get under the water, but she stayed there for more than half an hour and then came out as if nothing had happened.

The bath did not help her, as the scientists had found even more reasons to capture her. It was the first time they saw this species, supposedly terrestrial, dive into the water. Therefore, they studied anatomical features of these spiders that make them occasional submarines.

The results, recently published in ethologypoint to several very specific traits that can help these spiders to stay underwater. It is important to note that the entire study derives from a single observation; but that, given those anatomical features, it is more than likely to be common in this species. It would be necessary to continue investigating, but everything points in that direction.

Spiders that think they are frogs

Scientists know very well that there are aquatic spiderslike those of the species Argyroneta aquatica. They are arachnids that live permanently underwater and, in fact, they feed on other aquatic animals.

However, spiders with quasi-amphibious behaviors they are much rarer. Those that usually live on land are not adapted to live underwater. His respiratory system would not withstand the aquatic environment and the temperature change could be lethal. Some can live near the water, even occasionally approaching its surface in search of prey, but if they submerged they would be lost.

That’s what was expected of the river spidera (extensive trechalea), a species that is distributed between Mexico and Panama and is characterized by living in rocks near rivers and streams. It was first described in 1895, so it is not a new species. However, it is clear that he still had some secrets about her.

How do you get it?

Once they recovered from the surprise of seeing the spider go by 32 minutes underwater, these scientists captured it to study what characteristics of its anatomy allowed it to carry out the feat. In addition, they inspected the photographs and video they had recorded during her unexpected dive.

They have a film of air that protects them from changes in temperature and the entry of water into their breathing holes.

Thus, they saw that his body is covered by some hairs that repel water to the point of generating a kind of shield around him. This gives rise to a air film which also keeps the respiratory openings safe from the water. Thus, they can remain submerged without fear of drowning. A apnea perfect.

On the other hand, according to statements by the main author of the study, lindsey swierkthat film of air “could help minimize thermal loss caused by cold water of the current in which the spider dives. Logically, this species will have to be studied further, but it seems that they are more than prepared to hide from their predators by behaving as if they were frogs. More will have to be captured to study them in depth and it is clear that they will not make it easy for researchers. They will have to resort to patience or a good dip.


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