How Spiders Heal Broken Legs
The question of how spiders heal broken legs has been debated for decades. In some cases, spiders have been known to regenerate lost limbs on their own. This makes spiders a good study species for investigating healing.
Researchers have found that spiders have the ability to regrow legs after moults. They may also amputate a leg in the wild as a defense strategy.
Leg loss can affect a spider’s ability to build a web and catch its prey. Spiders that are more susceptible to predation can also be less competitive.
To research this, researchers brought 32 locusts into a laboratory. Parle sliced them with a scalpel and measured the strength of each leg. Then he used a special salt-like chemical to irritate the vein lining, causing the vein to swell shut.
Researchers found that the locusts that had a leg amputated had a two-thirds chance of snapping off during a jump. However, the locusts that had no damage to their leg were unaffected by the injury.
Scientists are still unsure of whether or not these spiders can heal in the wild. It’s possible that they can, but that they would be less likely to survive in the wild than those that did not have a leg amputated.
Spiders have a hard exoskeleton. These spiders can stand on six legs, but they must have at least two feet to support the weight of their bodies.
Another amazing spider defense is autotomy. Spiders release wastes from their anus. If they feel threatened, they bite or jump at their prey.