ByMitch Ratcliffe

Apr 13, 2021
spider in web

Take a moment to experience nature the way it sounds to other species. A remarkable new study lets us hear what a spider feels when the threads of its web vibrate.

When we talk about nature, we think in human terms. To understand the world, we need to get inside the brains of our fellow creatures. As reported in New Scientist, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has analyzed the vibration of individual threads of a tropical tent spider and converted them into sounds.

Keep in mind, this is a human rendering of a spider’s experience, which is more touch- than sound-based because spiders don’t have ears. They sense sound through the hairs on their legs. And spiders don’t equate what they sense to the harp-like sounds in the video.

Open your mind and listen. You’ll also be able to see the individual threads that vibrate to produce the sound, so imagine the deafening crash that a spider may “hear” when you wipe away a web. Then, take a few minutes to walk outside and notice the many places these little symphonies are playing in the breeze. What a beautiful, amazing world — we should protect it, not just for its own sake but because of everything we still have to learn about it.


By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.