Behavioral Experiment
Drugged Spiders
By Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD

Not only humans present strange behaviors when are drug injected. An impressive example of what a drug cause in a spider can be observed in this experiment of artificially-produced animal behavior. Farmacologists such as the pioneer Peter Witt, observed that spiders weave both strange and deformed webs when they are under action of of certain drugs. The scientist drop a drop of drug in the web and wait for the spider's action. The spider produces different kinds of webs according to the type of drug. Its behavior reveals a fantastic semelhance with desorientations experienced by humans under influence of the same drug. The webs may identify exactly the type of drug injected.

A normal web has a characteristic architecture. 

When drugs are injected, such as pervitine, a benzedrine stimulant, the spider become impatient to finish the cicles.

The hidrate of cloral makes spider sleep after completed a small portion of its web.

Cafeine makes spider just makes a simple wire interlacing.
Photos by Peter N. Witt (1)
The Author
Silvia Helena Cardoso, PhD. Psychobiologist, Master and Doctor in Sciences, Founder and editor-in-chief, Brain and Mind , State University of Campinas. Director and Vice-President, Edumed Institute.

August, 2001


To know more:
1. Book - Spider Communication Mechanisms & Ecological Significance - by Peter N. Witt

2. AMERICAN ARACHNOLOGY - The Official Newsletter of the  American Arachnological Society


Copyright © 1997-2001 Silvia Helena Cardoso