A new study found that spiders can sense and navigate according to the earth’s magnetic field. It is not the first time a living organism has been seen taking advantage of the earth’s electromagnetic field, although this spider uses some more complex methods.
Bees have many sensors for finding flowers and navigating through space. Studies have shown that bees have the ability to detect a flowers electric field. A flower tends to have a different magnetic field based on it’s distance from the ground, shape and size. This can help a bee determine if a flower is suitable for it to use and makes it easier to find more similar flowers. The little hairs that are found across a bees body and legs are affected by electric fields and create an image of the surroundings when processed in the bees brain.
This is similar to whiskers that other animals like mice have. Those sensitive hair like projections can help an animal navigate through space sometimes even more efficiently than normal vision. Even seals and marine animals use such whiskers to sense changes in water pressure and hunt or avoid predators.
Magnetotactic bacteria are bacteria that can orient themselves along the earth’s magnetic field. These bacteria have magnetosomes, small organelles containing magnetic crystals that give the bacteria a sense of direction. This can help them float on a specific depth in a lake during the day and dive deeper during the night. There are many ways bacteria use this mechanism.
Spiders can walk, jump or even fly. They can use their silk to make nets that carry them through the wind. This is called ballooning. A new study found that spiders can sense the earth’s magnetic field like bees through the hairs on their legs. This helps them know when winds are coming and their direction. So they can start building the web. It can also work like a compass helping them orient when navigation those large distances. Scientists had to use a special chamber to test this hypothesis. It is very interesting and we will have to study more this sense as it may be affecting us if some ancestors had it and it’s left in our genome.