Monday, April 27, 2009

Undead spiders!

OK, lame title, but I couldn't help myself.

What it refers to, is an interesting piece of science news over at National Geographic, which reports on some new findings related to spiders.

Spider "Resurrections" Take Scientists by Surprise

Like zombies, spiders in a lab twitched back to life hours after "drowning"—and the scientists were as surprised as anyone.

The spiders, it seems, enter comas to survive for hours underwater, according to a new study.

The unexpected discovery was made during experiments intended to find out exactly how long spiders can survive underwater—a number of spiders and insects have long been known to be resistant to drowning.

I wasn't aware of this, but some spider species apparently take a long time to drown (we're talking 24 to 36 hours here), and the researchers were trying to find out exactly how long it took for these spiders to drown.

After the spiders had drowned, the researchers wanted to dry out the spiders, so they could weight them. This is when they found out that they spiders hadn't really drowned, but rather had gone into some kind of coma. After a fairly short while, the spiders started moving again, and after a couple of hours they were recovered.

So, just how long time does it take to really drown these things?

According to the article, the study should be in Biology Letters, but I wasn't able to locate it at the website.

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