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The Measuring Function of the First Legs of Araneus Diadematus Cl

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Spiders deprived of one first leg or two front legs on the same side built webs changed in specific ways and never recovered. Web components were changed from control values to a statistically significant degree as follows: angle regularity and the number of radii decreased, the median central angle increased in size; the number of spiral turns and, in some cases, the spiral regularity decreased; the spiral area decreased relative to frame and central areas; the thread length decreased. No change could be detected in web shape or in the position of the hub. It is concluded that the first leg has a measuring as well as a locomotor function, that the second leg can partly substitute for that measuring function. Web changes following delegging reflect loss of normal adequacy in both of these functions. No evidence of right-left differences in leg function were found. All adaptation to the absence of one or two legs had occurred in the first web after the operation. The variation in control webs and the differential severity in reaction to delegging require evaluation of several animals and many webs; such extensive evaluation is made feasible by computer analysis of an array of points defining a web.

Affiliations: 1: Depts. of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, and IBM Corp., Syracuse, N.Y., U.S.A.; 2: Depts. of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, and IBM Corp., Syracuse, N.Y., U.S.A..


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