LISTEN: Science Has Figured Out What A Spiderweb Sounds Like


What does a spiderweb sound like?

That’s no longer just the kind of thought you might have after indulging in Lucifer's lettuce. It’s a question that's been answered, by science. Have a listen!

It’s called “spiderweb sonification”, and I won’t attempt to understand or explain the science behind it. Instead, here’s more from New Scientist.

“The spider web can be viewed as an extension of the body of the spider, in that it lives within it, but also uses it as a sensor,” says Markus Buehler at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who presented the work at a virtual meeting of the American Chemical Society. “When you go into the virtual reality world and you dive inside the web, being able to hear what’s going on allows you to understand what you see.”

Because of differences in the length and tension of each strand of a spider’s web, they emit a different frequency when disturbed and can even be used to send out signals or communicate with other spiders when the web’s owner taps on the strands.

Buehler’s team used laser imaging to create a 3D map of webs made by tropical tent-web spiders (Cyrtophora citricola). They identified each thread’s vibrating frequency through its size and elasticity, then converted those frequencies into ones that can be heard by humans. By piecing the visual and auditory layers together, users connect the sounds to the threads they see, mimicking a spider surveying its world, he says.

 I’m just really glad it doesn’t sound anything like the Spider-Man soundtrack from 2002.