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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: Old Spiders Weave Messy Webs
1 July 2011 11:48 am
In humans, we associate getting older with cobwebs of the mind; in spiders, it's the cobwebs themselves that suffer. On Saturday, biologists will present research at the Society for Experimental Biology annual conference in Glasgow showing that as spiders age, they build shabbier, less perfect webs than they did in their youth. As a young creepy-crawly, the European house spider, Zygiella x-notata, weaves intricately patterned webs with regular spacing and exact angles, like this one in the left photo, built by a 17-day-old spider. The web in the right photo was built by a 188-days-old spider nearing the end of its life, and its web design is far more irregular and shows numerous gaps. Researchers suspect that, like in humans, the spider's central nervous system breaks down in old age. If that's the case, studying how these spiders' weaving skills deteriorate with age could help scientists learn more about aging's effect on human behavior, too.
See more ScienceShots.