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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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Slideshow: Deep-sea Spiders Have a Snack
24 December 2009 (All day)
Three thousand meters below the ocean's surface, a remotely operated vehicle has captured never-before seen images of deep-sea spiders feeding in their natural habitat. These sluggish, long-legged spiders, which occupy a distinct class of arthropods from land spiders, survive on sea anemones in a submarine canyon off the Central California coast.
Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute tracked two species of sea anemones and two species of sea spiders from the genus Colossendeis during 12 visits over a 4-year period. The submarine robot observed the spiders' proboscis piercing wilted pom-pom anemones among the clam fields, wood debris, and whale carcass remains in the submarine canyon. The spiders adopted many feeding strategies, from sucking with their proboscis on sedentary anemones or detached tentacles, to devouring anemones as they rolled together in the currents. The team, led by evolutionary biologist Robert Vrijenhoek, reports the findings in the fall issue of the Journal of Invertebrate Biology.
Vrijenhoek and colleagues have previously observed boneworms nibbling on whale bones that had fallen to the sea floor. The rare sightings of boneworms and sea spider feasts support the idea, the authors say, that the sea floor is more of an oasis than the nutritional desert some had believed.
Anemone tentacles make a tasty snack (Flash slideshow). A deep-sea pycnogonid, or sea spider, holds two detached tentacles of a sea anemone in its mouth amid the mollusk shells and whale bones that have settled on the sea floor. Image courtesy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. © 2009 MBARI