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Reprinted from FEDERATION PROCEEDINGS Vol.21, No.2 – MARCH-APRIL 1962 Printed in the United States of America
EFFECTS OF ATROPINE ON SPIDERS* WEB BUILDING BEHAVIOR AND THREAD PRODUCTION. Peter N. Witt» State Univ. of N. I*, Upstate Med. Ctr., Syracuse, lí. Y.
1, 2r or h mg/kg atropine sulfate were given to 19, 19 or 39 spiders by mouth 12 hours before web-building time. The two lower doses caused webs which showed no change in size or regularity but were built with wider meshes, covering the same area with less thread. The highest dose caused significantly smaller and less regular webs built with less thread. The change lasted through the second day after drug application.
It was suspected that in addition to a central nervous system effect atropine might interfere with thread protein production in spiders, comparable to the reduced thread length and thickness which was observed after atropine in silk worms (N. Tamaño, K. Kuriaki, Arch. int. Pharmacodyn. 132:U9, 1961). A method was devised to pull the thread from spiders which they had produced during the last 2k hours and weigh it.
Four mg/kg atropine reduced the amount of thread which could be pulled by £8$. This together with other evidence from dissected spiders points towards a point of attack of atropine at the silk glands of spiders interfering with thread production. (Supported by a grant from the USPHS,
No. B-179U (G3)*