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Do spiders sleep? A new discovery raises the possibility that they even dream

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human and spiders We might have more in common than meets the eye. This is suggested by a new study carried out by researchers at the University of Constance, in Germany, which suggests that arachnids experience REM sleep behaviors and raises the possibility that they even dream.

Specifically, the team studied jumping spiders and checked that you are experience retinal movements With spasms of the limbs and leg flexion.

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One of the authors of the research, Dr. Daniela Rößler, explained on Twitter how they noticed that these invertebrates showed regular phases of curl legs and squirmapparently uncontrolled movements – which can be seen on video in his thread under these lines – reminiscent of those of dogs and cats when sleeping.

Following this observation, they decided study the retinas of the offspring of this type of spider, taking advantage of the fact that they are translucent in their first week of life. In this way they verified that the movements of the legs coincided with movements of their retinas. Thus, although -according to Dr. Rößler- It is not yet known if spiders dreamNow this interesting possibility arises.

In this sense, the study, published this week in the scientific journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences‘, emphasizes that the main characteristic of the REM sleep It is precisely the movement of the eyes. Not in vain, the acronym ‘REM’ corresponds in English to ‘Rapid Eye Movements’.

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Not all animal species have mobile eyes, but jumping spiders in particular have mobile retinal tubeswhich can be observed directly in the offspring, whose exoskeleton is translucent temporarily after birth.

Thanks to this, the authors of the investigation found evidence of a state similar to REM sleep in these spidersspecifically “periodic episodes of retinal movements in conjunction with limb twitching and stereotypic leg-flexing behaviors during nocturnal rest”.

Furthermore, those observed retinal motion episodes “were consistent, including regular durations and intervals, and both increased over the course of the night.” Thus, the researchers conclude that their finding supposes “direct evidence of a state similar to REM sleep in a terrestrial invertebrate”, with “clear parallels with REM sleep in vertebrates terrestrial”.

In turn, they point out that, since it has been hypothesized that movement patterns during REM sleep would be directly related to the visual scene experienced when dreaming, this finding in turn raises the question if jumping spiders can experience visual dreams.

Source: Lasexta

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