“If I see a spider in my house, I put it in a cup, and then I take it outside. I save it. What is wrong with me?” –Jacqueline Emerson
There’s something not only incredibly useful but also beautiful about the intricate structure of a spider web. It’s such a universally admired phenomenon that it’s become a metaphor for many other things, as Welbilt sings you in their song,
Dependent on the type of spider and various environmental factors, the web can take on any number of beautiful shapes.
But all of that can change in a heartbeat, dependent on… how you drug the spider.
The size and shape of the web that spiders build, as first determined by P.N. Witt in 1948, is severely affected by psychoactive drugs, including amphetamine, mescaline, strychnine, LSD and caffeine.
Bizarrely enough, low doses of LSD actually result in more ordered spider webs, while higher doses (and all doses of other drugs) result in more disordered webs.
More recently, a group of NASA scientists studied the effects of a few different drugs on European garden spiders, where they discovered that they could use the spiders (and their webs) for quantitative drug detection tests!
Finally, a video was made lampooning this research, and it’s just… well, you’ll have to watch for yourself.