Science. Spiders – are they dreaming? Demonstrating REM sleep in spiders is difficult

W badaniu obserwowano młode osobniki z gatunku Evarcha arcuata (fot. blw Naturstudio/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

While resting, spiders experience an active sleep phase. They can dream like mammals, as indicated by eye and leg movements, a new study by TVP Nauka suggests.

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Until now, only vertebrates sleep in two stages, experiencing the resting (NREM) and active (REM) sleep stages. REM sleep is shallow and easy to wake up from. Rapid eye movements are observed during REM sleep, he points out TVP Science.

Mammals, birds and reptiles have been subjected to many experiments to study the nature of sleep. However, the real mystery is invertebrate sleep. An international team of scientists led by Daniela Rössler of the University of Konstanz in Germany decided to test whether spiders can sleep. The results of the experiment are described in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

Recording analysis

The study examined juveniles of the jumping family (Evarcha arcuata). Analysis of the recordings showed that spiders Experience a state seen in the active sleep phase. This suggested the behavior of representatives of arachnids – crawling legs and eye movements were noted. In humans, certain areas of the brain are more active and closely related to sleep during REM sleep. According to the authors, the nocturnal movements of spiders suggest that mammals experience a similar state during the active sleep phase.

“Many spider-like species don’t actually have moving eyes, so it’s difficult to compare their sleep cycles,” agrees Harvard biologist Paul Shamble. Proving that REM sleep exists in spiders is difficult, the researchers point out, but they plan to continue their work.

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