Trap-jaw spiders attack their prey with lightning-fast strike

A new study on predatory spider strikes has found a family of trap-jaw spiders that attack their prey with a lightning-fast strike and kill their target without giving it any chance to escape. The research paper published in the journal Current Biology explained that the largest of these creatures are around 1/8 inch in length and are plain-colored.

Researchers have lately uncovered how these arachnids hunt with a rapid attack. Scientifically known as Mecysmaucheniid spiders, the species are native to southern regions of South America and New Zealand.

Study’s lead researcher Hannah Wood, of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, made a group of high-speed video recordings of 14 species in Mecysmaucheniidae family. After analyzing the videos, it was found that some species snapped their jaws shut so fast that only video shot having 44,000 frames per second could slow it down enough for the action to be closely observed.

The video shows that the species Semysmauchenius in footage recorded at 3,000 frames per second per second (fps). The researchers noticed that four of the species put in more power than their own tiny muscles should have permitted them so. This means that other structural mechanisms allow the spiders to store energy that they can use when they need to make their blindly fast strikes.

Wood said that such biological ability to store energy is known as power amplification. This type of predatory behavior has been documented before as well in some ant species but it is the first time in arachnids.

The researchers said that they are not sure what mechanisms are responsible for the energy storage that makes the spider’s power-amplified behavior. Wood mentioned that the research shows how little they know about spiders and how much there is to discover.

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