Agonistic signals received by an arthropod filiform hair allude to the prevalence of near-field sound communication

Roger Douglas Santer, Eileen A. Hebets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)


Arthropod filiform hairs respond to air particle movements and are among the most sensitive animal sensory organs. In many species, they are tuned to detect predators or prey and trigger escape or prey capture behaviours. Here we show for the first time that these hairs also receive intraspecific near-field sound signals in an arachnid. During agonistic encounters, whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi) perform antenniform leg vibration (ALV) displays that have significantly longer duration in contest winners than losers. During an ALV display: (i) the vibrating antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider is positioned close to the trichobothria (filiform hairs) on its opponent's walking legs, (ii) the vibrating antenniform leg can excite these trichobothria via air movements and without direct contact, (iii) the antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider vibrates at a frequency that causes particularly strong, sustained excitation and little adaptation in the trichobothria, and (iv) the duration of an ALV display can be extracted from the response of a trichobothrium. Since filiform hairs are widespread among arthropods, communication via such hairs could be extremely prevalent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-368
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1633
Early online date05 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • communication
  • trichobothria
  • signal-receiver match
  • amblypygid
  • arachnid
  • whip spider
  • Trichobothria
  • Arachnid
  • Signal-receiver match
  • Whip spider
  • Amblypygid
  • Communication
  • Spiders/physiology
  • Vibration
  • Agonistic Behavior/physiology
  • Extremities/physiology
  • Mechanoreceptors/physiology
  • Male
  • Florida
  • Animals
  • Animal Communication


Dive into the research topics of 'Agonistic signals received by an arthropod filiform hair allude to the prevalence of near-field sound communication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this