By Friedrich G. Barth
Spiders are incredible creatures. Their diverse and intricate variety of habit and hugely built sensory platforms are excellently tailored to the environmental stipulations - as is confirmed via their evolutionary luck. Over four hundred million years, spiders have built their sensory organs to a desirable technical perfection and complexity.
In his exciting booklet, Professor Friedrich G. Barth places this technical perfection into the context of "biology", during which the interplay among surroundings and sensory organs and the selectivity of the senses as a hyperlink among atmosphere and behaviour play an enormous position.
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Extra info for A Spider's World: Senses and Behavior
About the consequences of being bitten by Phoneutria nigriventer, which currently, like Cupiennius, is still being counted as a member of the Ctenidae (but see Chapter II), Zvonimir Mareti writes: "The pain due to the bite is so severe that it may cause shock if not combated immediately. It 30 V No Spider Without Poison irradiates to the whole affected limb extending to the trunk. " A summary devoted specifically to the poisons of Phoneutria, a spider known and notorious in Brazil as "aranha armadeira" because of the aggressive posture it adopts when threatened, has been published by Schenberg and Pereira Lima (1978).
Right Schematic drawing of horizontal sections through the slit at different levels as indicated by A, B, and C in left figure; De dendrite. (Barth 1971 a) like lips. lm wide. The dendrite of a bipolar sensory cell ends in a specialized structure of the covering membrane, which we call the coupling cylinder (Figs. 5, 6). lm in diameter. Within the dendrite termi- nal is a so-called tubular body, cons1stmg of densely packed tubules in electron-dense material. This is one of the few modality-specific structures of the cuticular mechanoreceptors of arthropods; that is, it is diagnostic of their function, just as light-sensing organs can be identified by the enlargements of the cell membrane 46 VII The Measurement of Strain in the Exoskeleton Fig.
Although most spiders, unlike the ones referred to above, certainly are better than their reputation, my essentially positive view needs an addendum. According to recent studies there may be representatives even of species so far considered harmless whose bite may cause longlasting necrotic arachnidism ( Tegenaria agrestis, Vest 1987, 1993; Anonymous 1996). The Harmlessness of Cupiennius • So as not to inspire yet more fear of spiders, or to depart too far from the main subject, let us now return to Cupiennius.