Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Do Spiders Get Motion Sickness?

Sitting on the lanai of our rental here on Maui, there's a tiny spider who has spun a web between two chairs. The breeze is blowing her* back and forth as she sits in the center.

I had to use manual focus to get the shot. My eyes aren't the best, so I apologize for the mediocre quality.
Is she getting airsick as the wind blows her this way and that? Strangely enough, when I see spiders in windy webs, I feel a little sympathy for them, wondering if it's hard to hang on and if they get nauseous. It's all very silly, I know. Spiders have been doing this for millions of years. I'm sure by now they've learned how to spin tiny air sickness bags which they store on their front legs.

* - Notice how I made the spider feminine? I did that to smash the patriarchy! Not only that, I think she's a lesbian. Take that, you heteronormative bigots!


Ilíon said...

"* - Notice how I made the spider feminine? I did that to smash the patriarchy! Not only that, I think she's a lesbian. Take that, you heteronormative bigots!"

Kind of like how I sometimes mockingly use "gender inclusive language" to make the generic murderer (or plumber) a she?

K T Cat said...

Ingenious! Keep up the fight! Soon, we'll have smashed the patriarchy and replaced it with...with...err, well, we'll replace it with something!

Ilíon said...


One thing I have long noticed about the people -- meaning supposedly conservative men -- who chose to employ the leftist good-think epitomized by "gender inclusive language" is that their anti-grammatical 'shes' are always seen positively or of high-status, a professor of philosophy (never mind that precious few actual shes give the smallest damn about philosophy), say, rather than negatively or of low-status, like a murderer of plumber.

tim eisele said...

Huh. And here I frequently refer to spiders as feminine because the most noticeable ones (bigger and plumper, and with the larger, better webs) generally *are* female (and it generally is easy to pick out the occasional male by their enlarged pedipalps, their scrawnyness, and their tendency to run around away from their webs).

One does like to be accurate, after all.

tim eisele said...

Incidentally, about the motion sickness thing: they probably don't. As far as I know, their sense of balance doesn't work anything like ours. And web-spinners have such poor eyesight that I don't see them having the problem with eyes and sense of balance disagreeing that causes motion sickness in us in any case.

Ilíon said...

If spiders can empathize enough with mammals to rescue pigs, why can't they also suffer motion-sickness?

K T Cat said...

Rescuing pigs is indeed a clue! Ilion is using the sciencey stuff in a big way now.


Tim, I was thinking about the spider's digestive tract. According to this simplified chart:


it doesn't look to me like the critter's got a big enough stomach to have things sloshing around in it as the web sways in the breeze. Also, I would bet that since the spider eats mostly liquid, food passes through its digestive tract rapidly so there's nothing there to barf up.