Spiders can have arachnophobia

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Arachnophobia is among the most common phobias, and not just among humans. Spiders can have it too, and with good reason: Spiders of certain species regularly eat each other (for food, after mating, and for other reasons scientists don’t fully understand). A 2021 study found that fear of fellow arachnids is prevalent among common zebra jumping spiders (Salticus scenicus), who were observed leaping away from larger jumping spider species in recognition of the latter’s status as potential predators. Even when placed near deceased Marpissa muscosa and Phidippus audax specimens, the spiders froze up and ran away. The same effects were found even when baby Salticus scenicus were presented with 3D models that somewhat resembled the predators. Like their adult counterparts, baby jumping spiders have extremely strong eyesight and use their keen vision to detect and avoid threats — even when those threats aren’t actually moving.

When it comes to humans, acrophobia (fear of heights), aerophobia (flying), trypanophobia (needles), and social phobias such as public speaking also consistently rank among the most common fears. Approximately 19 million Americans have at least one phobia, and most emerge when a person is between the ages of 15 and 20. Exposure therapy has been shown to help reduce these fears, at least when it comes to humans — jumping spiders may not be as lucky.

Media Release/Interesting Facts

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