It’s true — scientists have discovered that some species of jumping spiders chase lasers, just like cats do.
A recent article published in the Atlantic and an explosive Twitter conservation has the world talking about the unique behavior of zebra jumping spiders. And not only their behavior, but their telescopic eyes as well.
After a spider fell on Jaime Lomax’s laptop, the astronomer and colleague Emily Levesque decided to study the spiders’ reactions to laser pointers. Experimenting with both a red and a green laser pointer, the scientists discovered that indeed the zebra spiders responded to light stimuli, and seemed to prefer the green light over the red light.
Jumping spiders are extremely visual hunters, commonly noted for their awareness of humans. Their retinas contain two types of light-detecting cells — one that is sensitive to ultraviolet light and one that is sensitive to green light. Researchers surmise that the spiders see red light as a dimmer shade of green and being less bright, are less reactive to it.
.OK people we have footage. Zebra spider, office wall, green laser pointer (interest level: “OMG GIVE IT TO MEEEE”) pic.twitter.com/EezkY0zRkr
— Emily Levesque (@emsque) June 5, 2017
In addition to chasing laser pointers, zebra spiders are remarked for their magnificent vision. Their eyes are built like Galilean telescopes, and they are indeed capable of seeing the moon.
“These telescopes, which Galileo started using in 1609, are basically tubes with a lens at each end. Only three groups of animals have similar eyes: falcons, chameleons, and jumping spiders,” the Atlantic states.
Their eyes contain a large lens on the top attached to a long tube and gel at the end that acts as a second lens and actually bends light. Although scientists aren’t sure exactly how, jumping spiders are capable of visualizing large objects, including humans.
Yes, it’s unusual, but also fascinating you can play laser pointer chase with telescopic jumping spiders the same as cats.