Living With Detours

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider
Photo: Karthik Easvur

Infrastructure spending leads to detours and our Greater Lafayette cities have seemingly deployed every orange barrel between here and the east coast to create a confusing maze. The “trending” answer: “You can’t get there from here.”

How good are arthropods at navigating detours? Cross and Jackson* studied the ability of 15 species of jumping spiders to navigate an indirect route to capture prey. They placed spiders on top of a tower where the spiders could survey the prey and surrounding landscape. The landscape consisted of walkways surrounded by water (the spiders avoid water). They placed a prey at the end of a walkway and charted the spider movements. Once the spiders climbed down from the tower, the prey was blocked from view by barriers along the walkways. The spiders had to choose which of the walkways to follow: the one leading to the spider or one of several that did not. The spiders chose the correct path more often than expected if a path was chosen randomly. The results suggest that the spiders were able to plan their route for navigating around detours from the tower.

FIONA R. CROSS AND ROBERT R. JACKSON. THE EXECUTION OF PLANNED DETOURS BY SPIDER-EATING PREDATORS. JOURNAL OF THE EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS OF BEHAVIOR 2016, 105, 194–210.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jeab.189/abstract

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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One Response to Living With Detours

  1. Benji Glover says:

    Now that is one insect that looks like he wants to eat me…lol

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