Transcript Request Form


Jumping spiders are highly visual animals. They use vision in courtship and to catch food. Gil Menda in Ron Hoy's lab at Cornell University developed a technique to record from the brain of a jumping spider. This enabled him to study their vision but also revealed the surprising fact that some brain neurons were sensitive to both visual stimuli and to sound. It has been known for a long time that jumping spiders were sensitive to substrate vibrations, but this was distant sound. It turns out that they are very sensitive to sounds from about 80 to 130 Hz a frequency characteristic of their chief predator a wasp. When you play sounds of these frequencies to a walking spider, it freezes. Lacking any obvious ears, it is the trichobothria—long hairs on the spiders legs—which are the receptors.