Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ziggy Stardust and the spiders on drugs

O.K. this post is not about David Bowie's classic album Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from Mars(The first record I ever owned), but their is a connection to Mars, or more precisely N.A.S.A. and Spiders.

The NASA experiments have shown that common house spiders spin their webs in different ways according to the psychotropic drug they have been given. Spiders on marijuana made a reasonable stab at spinning webs but appeared to lose concentration about half-way through. Those on Benzedrine - "speed" - spin their webs "with great gusto, but apparently without much planning leaving large holes", according to New Scientist magazine.

The scientists believe their previous work on the geometry of crystals will help them to devise computer programs that can analyze web-building objectively in order to predict the toxicity of new medicines. "It appears that one of the most telling measures of toxicity is a decrease, in comparison with a normal web, of the numbers of completed sides [of a web]; the greater the toxicity, the more sides the spider fails to complete", the scientists say.

Paul Hillard, spider specialist at the Natural History Museum in London, said researchers first discovered the effects of psychotropic drugs on spiders during experiments at the end of 1960s. The researchers fed caffeine to spiders in hope of making them spin webs in the late evening rather than the early dawn. The result was eccentric webs rather than earlier spinning, he said.

see Spider Communication: Mechanisms and Ecological Significance
Edited by Peter N.Witt & Jerome S. Rovner - Princeton University Press -1982

I got these images from

The Sober Spider Web

Spider WEB on


Spider web on MESCALINE

pider web on L.S.D


d. chedwick bryant said...

Yikes--Those coffee drinking spiders make crappy webs! But the LSD web looks totally inhabitable.

Very cool research, By the way I saw Clovia and she is as scary as a marionette.

d. chedwick bryant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
d. chedwick bryant said...

I just read some research on people who drive first thing in the morning--"sleepy commuters"-- if they haven't had coffee to wake up their brains they are more likely to have slowed reflexes, and be too relaxed to avoid fender benders. The whole caffeine thing is a mystery now.

Flawed & Disorderly said...

Sometimes I get worried that we waste too much time and money on stupid research. Then I find out scientists are giving spiders drugs, and I can sleep better at night. The world isn't so whack after all.

Feral Cat Protection Agency said...

spiders want drugs.

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