Paul S. Shamble
John Harvard Distinguished Science Fellow, Harvard University
How spiders jump
Abstract: Jumping is a way of life for jumping spiders (Salticidae). With seeming ease, they regularly leap gaps many times their body length. In reality, jumping presents fundamental physical and physics-based challenges. Salticids have evolved unique ways of overcoming some of the constraints inherent to this form of locomotion. This talk will explore the mechanisms of jumping in a multi-legged, silk-producing system. Using the common jumping spider Salticus scenicus, we developed a high-speed camera system to quantify jumps and to experimentally manipulate silk-tension. We ask how spider silk is used to control orientation and trajectory—even mid-flight—and discuss the application of these findings to future research on novel forms of locomotor control and the evolution of spider silk.
Host: David Haig Lab