Web weaving skills provide clues to aging

Jul 02, 2011
This web was woven by a 17-day-old spider, showing regular patterns. Credit: Mylčne Anotaux

Young house spiders weave webs with perfect angles and regular patterns, but as they reach old age their webs deteriorate, showing gaping holes and erratic weaving.

By using spiders as a simple model this research may provide insight into how affects behaviour in other organisms, including humans.

The reason web building skills are lost as spiders grow older may be due to degeneration of the . PhD researcher, Mylène Anotaux, from Nancy University in France, says "Our next steps will be to understand whether age-induced changes in the central nervous system are behind the differences in behaviour we have found."

"Because of the importance of understanding the underlying behavioural mechanisms of ageing in humans, investigating simple animal models that assess ageing mechanisms is essential," says Miss Anotaux.

This web was woven by a 188 day old spider, showing irregularity and holes. Credit: Mylčne Anotaux

This research, which will be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Conference in Glasgow on Saturday 2nd of July, used a common European house spider Zygiella x-notata, its short life span (around 12 months) and simple making it an ideal organism to shed light on the complexities of how aging can affect behaviour.

The webs of the were assessed throughout their lifetime using measures such as the regularity of web structure, angles between the strands and whether there were any holes.

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Provided by Society for Experimental Biology

4.4 /5 (7 votes)

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Telekinetic
1.8 / 5 (9) Jul 02, 2011
Alright, so my table tennis game isn't what it was when I was 16, but my forehand slam still catches a corner now and again. I revere spiders and carry them outside. They're one of the few manufacturers that haven't outsourced their product to China.
Norezar
5 / 5 (2) Jul 02, 2011
Alright, so my table tennis game isn't what it was when I was 16, but my forehand slam still catches a corner now and again. I revere spiders and carry them outside. They're one of the few manufacturers that haven't outsourced their product to China.


Your post is hilariously appropriate given the following broken Engrish spambot post.
KillerKopy
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
I'd find that hole in your table tennis game and use it to no end. J/K
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (5) Jul 03, 2011
We have house spiders here in Australia, but they usually live on fences and in gutters. Horrible creatures. Also, the webs they build look nothing like those mentioned in the article. The article could have been a bit more specific about the species.
Doug_Huffman
2.1 / 5 (7) Jul 03, 2011
The article could have been a bit more specific about the species.
How, specifically, please? X-notata has been common in the literature on web weaving since 1966, Structure de la toile de Zygiella x-notata Cl., Louis Le Guelte.
Sinister1811
1 / 5 (4) Jul 03, 2011
European spider, that's why I've never heard of it. Okay, so I didn't notice the Zygiella x-notata towards the end of the article. My mistake. I apologize.
wordofmouth
not rated yet Jul 03, 2011
I thought there would of been a mention of a spider's physical degeneration with weaving webs over time.