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NatGeo: Do spiders dream?

National Geographic turns to UC associate professor Nathan Morehouse to explain why spiders might have visual dreams.

National Geographic turned to University of Cincinnati biologist Nathan Morehouse to explain why spiders might dream. If spiders dream, it's “likely to be in most ways completely different from our own,” Morehouse told NatGeo.

Morehouse is director of UC's Institute for Research in Sensing, which examines the myriad ways we and animals perceive the world. He was not part of the sleep study but has examined the vision of jumping spiders around the world.

In his lab in UC's College of Arts and Sciences, he and his students have demonstrated how jumping spiders have amazing color vision. He calls them “walking retinas.”

Jumping spiders are known for their solicitous postures, staring up at you like an expectant puppy with two enormous eyes that provide high-resolution vision. But they also have six smaller eyes that provide a 360-degree, monochromatic view of the world that’s very sensitive to motion, Morehouse said.

So why would spiders need REM sleep? 

Morehouse said one of the leading theories about REM sleep is that it allows animals to hone essential survival skills.

Read the National Geographic story.

Featured image at top: The brightly colored jumping spider Saitis barbipes. Photo/Bernard Dupont/Wikimedia Commons