Move over 'hangry', these spiders start losing vision when they get hungry
We all know 'hangry'. That feeling when we want to destroy the world without a reason and then realise that was just because we were hungry. Even a light snack makes the picture rosier. In our urge to win the competition of life we sometimes ignore meals. We power through being hangry but we'd probably be more regular with our meals if lack of one had a very very visible effect. Like a hand falling off when we're working on the computers or something. Scary!
But the yikes-scale of aftereffects of food deprivation in living beings goes beyond. Scientists have found that spiders can go so hungry that their eyesight begins to fail!
According to a report in Sciencealert, researchers from the University of Cincinnati were witness to this eye-popping phenomenon.
Spider under the lens was bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax). These spiders have light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in their eyes. These spiders make use of these cells to catch prey. It has reportedly been observed by the scientists that when the spider gets less nutrients, it loses those photoreceptors.
"Photoreceptors are energetically costly," says biologist Elke Buschbeck from the University of Cincinnati. "It's hard to keep up with their energy needs."
"If you deprive them of nutrition, the system fails. It's the functional equivalent of the macula in our eyes."
Buschbeck was quoted by Sciencealert.
To reach the conclusion about the spiders based on their observations using customised ophthalmoscope to study the retinal damage.
The subjects were 9 nutrient-deprived spiders. They were compared with 12 control spiders.
These observations can come in handy in understanding vision loss even in humans.
"To be able to say anything about how this may inform treatments in people, first carefully designed studies would need to tease out which exact nutrients are involved, which may depend on environmental conditions and other factors," says biologist Annette Stowasser from the University of Cincinnati. She was quoted on the university's official website.
This research has been published in the scientific journal Vision Research.
The degeneration of the photoreceptors in spiders' eyes reportedly has similarities with age-related macular degeneration in humans (AMD).
A 2014 study published in The Lancet said that 8.7 per cent of the world population has some form of AMD. This further leads to vast amount of money spent on healthcare.
This particular study was carried out by researchers from the Singapore Eye Research Institute and the University of Wisconsin.