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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: How Spider Assassins Mimic Prey
26 October 2010 7:01 pm
Sometimes the spider becomes the prey. At least when assassin bug Stenolemus bituberus is on the job. The spindly-legged insect (pictured) lures arachnids to their deaths by landing on webs, struggling like entangled prey, and then eating the arachnids for dinner. To figure out how the deception works, scientists placed spider webs in a sound chamber and recorded the vibrations when an assassin bug, a falling leaf, a courting male spider, or one of two types of prey (vinegar fly or aphid) touched the web. Spiders' reactions to the assassins most closely mirrored those toward prey: turning, pausing, and approaching 65% of the time and turning but not approaching 35% of the time. However, the spiders never aggressively approached the assassin bugs, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The scientists think this reflects a deliberate tactic of the assassins. By making only short, low-frequency vibrations, the predators mimicked the struggles of small or exhausted prey, duping the spiders into letting down their guard.
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