Legs would seem to be a pretty useful body part to spiders -- after all, they have eight of them. But a recent Cornell University study reveals that a certain kind of spider doesn't just use its legs to move around, but to hear airborne prey -- and turn it into lunch.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, makes the spiders sound like Marvel superheroes. It confirmed that the spiders use metatarsal sensitivity, or sensors at the tip of the leg, to detect sounds, then trigger a "split-second, ninja-like backflip to strike unsuspecting airborne insects, bag them in a web net, and then dine."
Australia Has Venomous Snakes, Spiders, and… Trees
The ogre-faced spiders, whose scientific name is Deinopis spinosa, are nocturnal creatures found mostly in the American southeast.
The spiders in the study are "some of the coolest spiders on the planet," lead author Jay Stafstrom said in a video. They do nothing during the day, he said, but hide and wait for sunset. Their web-making is unusual -- they create a "frame web" shaped like the letter A, then make a "fuzzy, rectangular net" that they hold with their front forelegs and use to actively nab prey.
In addition to the unusual webs and multi-talented legs, the spiders are noteworthy for their large eyes, which Stafstrom says are "the biggest eyes of any spider."
Amy Schumer makes a hilarious 'in-person' appearance on The Ellen Show
Amy Schumer used a TV screen and a pair of fake legs to make her first 'in-person' appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show since the start of the pandemic.But Amy Schumer made her first 'in-person' studio appearance — sort of — on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that airs Tuesday.
Marvel at the very best in wildlife photography from around the globe
London's Natural History Museum announced the 2020 winners of its annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest in a livestreamed ceremony on Tuesday, naming Sergey Gorshkov Wildlife Photographer of the Year for this image, titled The Embrace, of an Amur tigress hugging an ancient Manchurian fir in the Russian Far East. Amur, or Siberian, tigers are only found in this region, and it took more than 11 months for the Russian photographer to capture this moment with hidden cameras.
Liina Heikkinen of Norway, age 13 at the time of this photograph, was named the Young Grand Title Winner for her dramatic image of a young fox refusing to share a barnacle goose. "A great natural history moment captured perfectly," said Shekar Dattatri, wildlife filmmaker and jury member. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London.
Remember Netflix's hit Tiger King series? American photographer Steve Winter won The Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award for a photo story about tigers rescued from Joe Exotic's Oklahoma animal park. The tigers shown here, Clay, Daniel and Enzo, now will live out their lives with proper nutrition and veterinary care.
Young Evie Easterbrook was honored in the category for photographers aged 11-12 for this image of a pair of Atlantic puffins. She took the photograph while on a day trip with her family to the Farne Islands, off Northumberland, England.
She's not sharing. UK photographer Matthew Maran has been photographing a group of foxes in North London for four years. He was highly commended in the mammals category for this image of a young fox who holds tight to a dead brown rat as her brother attempts to take it from her.
One creature's meal is another one's family. Spanish photographer Jaime Culebras captured this image of a wandering spider devouring the eggs of a glass frog, taken in Manduriacu Reserve, northwestern Ecuador. One by one, over the course of an hour, the spider ate all of the frog's eggs.
Son Tra Nature Reserve is Vietnam's last coastal rainforest and a stronghold for the endangered red-shanked douc langur, one of the world's most colorful primates. Arshdeep Singh of India, age 13, took this photo of one meeting the camera's gaze when he accompanied his father on a business trip to Vietnam.
This large male gharial (also known as a fish-eating crocodile), allows his many offspring to ride on his back. Indian photographer Dhritiman Mukherjee took the photograph during breeding season in the National Chambal Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, northern India. This male was left in sole charge of his month-old babies, observes Mukherjee, but both sexes are known to care for their young.
Jose Fragozo of Portugal snapped this portrait of a hippopotamus barely visible in a mud pool in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve. Hippos spend the day submerged to keep their temperature constant and their sensitive skin out of the sun, and at night they emerge to graze on the floodplains.
Makoto Ando of Japan spent three hours hiding behind a tree on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, hoping this pair of Ural owls would pose or perform. Suddenly, a red squirrel appeared, and Ando captured an image of it bounding away.
Russian-American photographer Alex Badyaev won in the urban wildlife category for this image of the Cordilleran flycatcher, taken in Montana. He captured his shot as the female paused to check on her four nestlings, who were just 12 days old. That's Badyaev inside the cabin -- he hid his camera behind a large piece of tree bark and operated it remotely.
American photographer Kirsten Luce took this image of a polar bear, wearing a wire muzzle, forced to perform with a traveling Russian circus in Kazan, Tatarstan. The polar bear is one of four females, reportedly captured in Russia's Franz Josef Land when two years old ("abandoned," according to the trainer) and still performing 18 years later.
These two belugas belong to a travellng dolphinarium, one of 12 known to travel in Russia today, and live in small saltwater tanks, traveling from town to town to perform. American photographer Kirsten Luce took the photo of them performing in an inflatable pool inside a circus tent in a carpark.
These Male Spiders Attack Females and Tie Them Up Before Sex to Avoid Being Cannibalized .
Scientists found that the males would first bite the females on the legs before mating.A team of scientists from the Czech Republic observed the spiders, which are native to Israel, in a lab using a video camera, uncovering the unusual behavior.