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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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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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