Thursday, December 3, 2009

Zombie Spiders

Imagine you’re a wolf spider that lives in salt marshes. When the tide comes in, your number one priority should be to get to higher ground. Spiders are terrestrial organisms that require oxygen, so rising water seems detrimental to survival.

Recent work by Julien Pétillon and his graduate student (unnamed in the article) at France’s Université de Rennes, demonstrated that one species of marsh-dwelling spider, Arctosa fulvolineata, can survive up to forty hours of submersion in salt water by lapsing into a “coma”. If the spiders are allowed to dry out for a few hours, they recover.

While this adaptive mechanism is interesting, I do not think that drowning spiders is an appropriate activity for scientists.

Science: 324: 571 (2009).

No comments: