The Sensory and Behavioural Biology of Whip Spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi)

R. D. Santer, Eileen A. Hebets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi) comprise a small and little-studied arachnid order. They have elongated antenniform forelegs which function in a sensory capacity and are not used for locomotion. These antenniform legs are covered in large numbers of chemo- and mechanosensory sensilla, and others of unknown function. The antenniform legs also contain an array of first and second order giant neurons that carry information rapidly from some of these sensilla to the central nervous system. In addition, whip spiders possess large and well-developed mushroom bodies, brain neuropils that have been associated with complex behaviour such as learning and memory in insects. In searching for the behavioural role of these and other sensory specialisations, we are slowly gaining insights into the sensory guidance of escape, prey capture, orientation, and communication behaviours in these remarkable arachnids. Here, we aim to consolidate this information and to assemble an accessible picture of the sensory and behavioural biology of this order.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-64
Number of pages64
JournalAdvances in Insect Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2011


  • Amblypygi
  • Antenniform leg
  • Arachnid
  • Communication
  • Escape
  • Giant neuron
  • Mechanosensation
  • Olfaction
  • Prey capture
  • Trichobothria


Dive into the research topics of 'The Sensory and Behavioural Biology of Whip Spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this