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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2004 Aug;14(4):415-22.

Spider mechanoreceptors.

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University of Vienna, Biocenter, Institute of Zoology, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Wien, Austria.


Spiders have highly developed mechanosensory systems, some of which provide access to forms of stimulation alien to our own sensations. Studies of hair-shaped air movement detectors (trichobothria) and tactile sensors have uncovered an outstanding refinement of the processes of stimulus uptake and stimulus transformation, which reflect details of both stimulus physics and behavioral significance. They also emphasize the potential contained in the seemingly simple Bauplan of arthropod cuticular hairs. Embedded into the spider exoskeleton are several thousands of strain detectors (slit sensilla) measuring compressive exoskeletal strains induced by various forms of loads and forces. A compound slit sensillum (lyriform organ) on the leg has become an important model system for studies of mechanoreceptor primary processes at the cellular and membrane level.

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