Snake spiders have learned to build real catapults for lifting heavy prey

Can a tiny spider weighing 0.01 grams catch and drag huge prey into its den, such as an Argentine cockroach weighing 0.5 grams - that is, 50 times heavier than itself? It turns out that it can - with the help of a home-made mechanical device, the principle of which resembles a catapult. Here, too, the energy of a twisted rope is used, and the spider purposefully "charges" the mechanism, aiming it at the victim.

The spider web is made of silk, it is very elastic, it can stretch and contract a lot. It is this property that forms the basis of the lifting mechanism of the snake spiders. There is no point in setting it up in advance, so as not to waste energy, so the spider lowers only the trapping thread. The victim clings to her, sticks, after which the spider immobilizes her with poison and begins to build a lift.

Spiders of the species Steatoda paykulliana and Triangulate took part in the experiments, the victims were huge Argentine cockroaches. The video clearly shows how the spider stretches several pre-stretched threads to the immobilized prey. Their number depends on the weight of the prey; five pieces were enough for a cockroach. The threads contract, the prey rises, but not very quickly - at a speed of 0.01 cm / s.

In some cases, the trapped creature turned out to be so large that the spider had to disassemble part of the underlying web in order to raise it to the lair itself. This partly explains how such tiny predatory insects manage to catch and eat even lizards and mice. And if the cobwebs were thicker and stronger, who knows who else they could hunt.