Wonder can come in small sizes. Take the tiny jumping spiders, for example. Here’s Michael Greshko in National Geographic:
But a new study shows that many species plan out intricate detours to reach their prey—smarts usually associated with far bigger creatures.
The arachnids, already well known for their colors and elaborate mating rituals, have sharp vision and an impressive awareness of three-dimensional space. (See “Surprise: Jumping Spiders Can See More Colors Than You Can.“)
“Their vision is more on par with vertebrates,” says Damian Elias of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the new research. “And that allows them to do things that are physically impossible for other animals that size.”
Jumping spiders of the subfamily Spartaeinae (spar-TAY-in-ay) are particularly ambitious—they eat other spiders. Researchers suspect that preying on other predators requires extra intelligence and cunning.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Robert Jackson of New Zealand’s University of Canterbury demonstrated that Portia fimbriata, a member of this spider-snacking subfamily, methodically plans winding detours to sneak up on prey spiders. Portia can even find hidden prey, suggesting that the predator can visualize its prey’s location and a path to get there.
The new research confirms and expands on those earlier findings. More here.
This post relates to wonder, associated with the teal portion of the singing wilderness spiritual map.