Spiders also sleep, this study proves

KOMPAS.com – Some of you may feel curious, do animals like two by two also sleep.

Apparently in a study, researchers managed to show that spiders also sleep like humans.

Quoted from PhysTuesday (9/8/2022) in the study researchers recorded baby jumping spiders (E. arcuata) at night to see if the spider is really sleeping.

Read also: How do spiders produce webs from their bodies?

And the recordings turned out to show a very similar pattern to the sleep cycle. The spider’s legs twitched and part of their eyes flickered.

Researchers describe this pattern as a ‘sleep-like state’ Rapid Eye Movement (REM)’.

In humans, REM or rapid eye movement is the active phase of sleep, when parts of the brain light up with activity and are closely linked to dreams.

Other animals including some birds and mammals have been shown to experience REM sleep.

But creatures, such as jumping spiders, haven’t received much attention so it’s unknown whether they share the same type of sleep.

Daniela C. Roessler, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Konstanz, Germany and her team explored the question of sleeping spiders after finding spiders hanging at night in their lab containers.

He then took some jumping spiders to study.

Research shows that spiders’ movements overnight are very similar to REM in other species.

“It’s like a dog or cat moving around in their sleep. And it happens in a regular cycle, similar to sleep patterns in humans,” explains Roessler.

Many species that are similar to spiders do not actually have moving eyes, which makes it difficult to compare their sleep cycles.

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However, these jumping spiders are predators that move their retinas to change their gaze while hunting.

In addition, young spiders have a translucent outer layer, allowing them to see clearly into their bodies.

Read also: Taking refuge from predators, this spider can hide in water for more than 30 minutes

Furthermore, researchers still have to figure out whether spiders technically sleep when they are in such a resting state.

That, according to Roessler, includes testing whether they respond more slowly to the triggers that normally trigger them to sleep.

But creatures like jumping spiders are very far from humans on the evolutionary tree. That makes Jerry Siegel, a sleep researcher who wasn’t involved in the study, doubtful that spiders can actually experience REM sleep.

But Barrett Klein, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse who was also not involved in the study, said it was interesting to find REM-like signs in distant relatives.

Many questions remain about how widespread REM sleep is and what its purpose is for species.

Findings published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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