Although little research has been done into spider sleep, there is some evidence that spiders may have a rhythm called the circadian rhythm. This refers to daily periods of activity as well as rest. It is possible that different species have different activity cycles. Some spiders are only active at night, while others work during the day. Hibernating spiders allow them to stay suspended in cold environments until temperatures rise. When they aren’t actively working, the spiders’ metabolism slows down.
Daniela Roessler, along with her colleagues, was able to train cameras on baby jumping Spiders nightly. The footage displayed patterns similar to sleeping cycles. The spiders had their eyes flickering and their legs twitching.
This state is described by researchers as “REM-like sleep” where parts of your brain are awake and active.
It has been demonstrated that REM sleep can be experienced in other animals, including birds and mammals. Roessler works as an evolutionary biologist at the University of Konstanz. He stated that jumping spiders didn’t receive the same attention as other creatures and that it was not known if their sleep quality is the same.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the findings on Monday.
Roessler and her team teamed up to address the sleep problem. They discovered that spiders were hanging out of their lab containers from silk threads. Recently, she collected jumping spiders to study the issue. This was a common species with a furry brown physique, four pairs of large eyes, and four pairs.
Roessler said that suspended spiders were the “strangest thing” he’d ever seen.
Her research showed that the overnight movements of spiders resembled REM movement in other animals. It was similar in nature to the twitching of cats and dogs during sleep. They were similar to human sleeping patterns in that they occurred in predictable and regular cycles.
Paul Shamble, an evolutionary biologist from Harvard University, also shared the opinion that many spider-like creatures don’t have any movable eye movement. This makes it difficult for us to compare our sleep patterns.
Shamble explained to Shamble that these jumping spiders were predators who use their retinas for movement and to change their gazes during hunting. The transparent outer layer allows young spiders to view their bodies.
Shamble stated that sometimes it is possible to just be really, really lucky when you are a biologist.
Roesler stated that scientists still have to find out if the spider actually sleep while in this resting state. This involves testing the spiders’ response to triggers that would normally set them off.
Humans can jump spiders and other similar creatures within a short distance. Jerry Siegel, a sleep researcher and not part of this study, stated that he was skeptical that spiders could experience REM sleeping.
UCLA Center for Sleep Research said that there might be animals that are active in quiet periods. But what is REM sleep? It is hard to imagine that they could be the same thing.
Barrett Klein, an insectologist at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse wasn’t involved in this research. He stated that it was exciting to discover REM-like signals from such a distant relative. He indicated that there are many questions as to whether REM sleeping is common and for what species it serves.
Klein claimed that REM sleep was “still very much a BlackBox.”