NASA Once Fed Spiders Drugs And Then Watched As The Stoned Bugs Made “Deformed” Webs

A normal web on the left next to a web made by a spider on LSD

NASA once fed spiders drugs like LSD and marijuana and then watched as the stoned bugs made “deformed” webs. The space agency published the results of its bizarre experiment in 1995 – and they were as fascinating as you’d expect.

h/t: thesun, mentalfloss

A web made by a spider on marijuana on the right

You can see the abstract creations below, including webs weaved by spiders high on marijuana, LSD, caffeine and chloral hydrate.

A normal web on the left and a web made by a spider on chloral hydrate (sleeping pills)

“The more toxic the chemical,” wrote the researchers in their paper, “the more deformed a web looks in comparison with a normal web.”

Spiders who’d sampled caffeine made webs with disorganised cells

They then quantified the alterations in each web using statistical tools and image processors to test the impact of different chemicals on spiders.

A spider who’d been given Benzedrine spins a deformed web

Back in 1948, zoologist H.M. Peters had been staying up all night in an effort to research the web-spinning abilities of orb-web spiders. NASA replicated Witt’s original study in 1995 and found similar results. The only difference was the astronomers used house spiders as part of their analysis and modern computing tools to dissect the outcome.

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