Interesting phenomenon: Spider influenced by the magnet in my finger

edited July 2013 in Magnets
I was at work and found a small spider in it's web.  I was curious to see if it would react to a magnetic field and it did!  As I moved my finger back and forth, getting no closer than about 3 inches, the spider and the entire web responded by bouncing back and forth away from my finger.  It was almost like watching a speaker vibrating.  
So I looked it up and as far as I can tell nobody has researched this.  I found one person asking if spiders reacted to magnetic fields.  He had setup magnetic fields around some spiders and left another group of them with no field and apparently the group in the filed produced significantly more webbing.  
Anybody else find weird or surprising things with their magnet implants?  I'd also like to know if it can be replicated.  I only found one spider.  Maybe certain species use the earths magnetic fields to guide their web making.  


  • Ah ha ha. I'm going to have to try this. Hilarious. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Did you try the same with a finger without magnet?
    I might be mistaken, but as I remember it your description would fit the normal "fear" behavior of a spider whenever an object comes close, that isn't prey.
  • Yeah, I tried with the other hand.  What makes me thing that there's something to it is that the spider wasn't actually moving; it stayed motionless in it's web, it's the entire web that bounced back and forth, almost as if the spider were  weakly magnetic itself w/ the opposite pole pointed to my finger. 
    I certainly didn't expect anything like what I saw.  I thought maybe it would act differently, I was interested in whether it could sense it, but it didn't seem to act at all, it seemed almost as if it were propelled.   
    I'm really interested to try to replicate it.  It also maybe only one species and I don't know how to distinguish between them all that well.
  • Another possible cause for this phenomenon could be electrostatic attraction : spider webs are negatively charged and react to the close presence of positively charged like insects*, or fingers in this case. This hypothesis could be tested in the absence of wind by reaching to the web with sequentially an implanted finger, a non-implanted one and a scrubbed glass rod.
    * Spider webs reach out to flying insects, "Not Exactly Rocket Science" blog, July 2013
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