These spiders can stay underwater for 30 minutes!

And it’s not a spider aquatic ! But semi-aquatic: this species ofSouth America feeds on babies insects present in the water that it however catches from the earth. But its particularity lies elsewhere: it uses a strange process to hide from predators. Where some attempt intimidation or hide, Trechalea extensa dive underwater and patiently wait for the predators to leave! In this case, in the study which observed this behavior and which was published in the journal Ethology, they were humans. But how does she hold on apnea for that long?

The researchers explain that it is in fact his hair that allows him to achieve this feat: his cuticle pilar more exactly, also called epidermicle. It corresponds to the outermost part of the hair shaft, so hair. Its particular shape on Trechalea extensa allows the latter to create a hydrophobic surface all around its body, which prevents the passage of water. Thanks to this, she can not only breathe, but the diaperair also protects it from cold water.

This is not the first time that such a mechanism has been observed in nature. A Costa Rican lizard, observed by the same team of ethologists, was able to stay underwater for 16 minutes to hide from predators. Because, as the study says, “The threat of predation often forces animals to seek refuge in unusual or suboptimal habitats.” Thus, all means are good to escape his assailants.

But the researchers question the use of this process which still has many risks: “Risk of predation, yes, but also risk of the costs they will incur by fleeing. For some species, this means leaving territory or mates unguarded, or perhaps spendingenergy stored in a sprint. In this species, the potential risks related to the use of a refuge submarine may include shortness of breath and loss of heat bodily. There are many more questions to dig from this first sighting.”concluded Lindsey Swierk, first author of the study.

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