So this isn’t exactly my usual fare, but I promise it wont taste any different… well, aside from this ridiculous and unnecessary introduction claiming that this entry is different and then explaining how it’s not… Anyway, let’s not get lost in that.
Basically, I made a note months ago after listening to an episode of Science Sort Of… and someone referenced LSD Spiderwebs. I put the note in my wallet, saw it regularly but didn’t look it up until now. Typically my “stimulating finds” are random and off-the-cuff, not deliberate and neglected in my wallet. Enough with that already, and on to the spiders! Here’s the story:
In 1948, German pharmocologist P. N. Witt started his research on the effect of drugs on spiders. The initial motivation for the study was a request from his colleague, zoologist H. M. Peters, to shift the time when garden spiders build their webs from 2am-5am, which apparently annoyed Peters, to earlier hours. Witt tested spiders with a range of psychoactive drugs, including amphetamine, mescaline,
strychnine, LSD and caffeine, and found that the drugs affect the size and shape of the web rather than the time when it is built. At small doses of caffeine (10 µg/spider), the webs were smaller; the radii were uneven, but the regularity of the circles was unaffected. At higher doses (100 µg/spider), the shape changed more, and the web design became irregular. All the drugs tested reduced web regularity except for small doses (0.1-0.3 µg) of LSD, which resulted in more ordered webs.