A glance into the REM desires of the animal kingdom

A cuttlefish swims in an aquarium

Enlarge / A cuttlefish swims in an aquarium on the Scientific Middle of Kuwait on March 20, 2016, in Kuwait Metropolis. (credit score: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP by way of Getty Pictures)

Younger leaping spiders dangle by a thread via the evening, in a field, in a lab. On occasion, their legs curl and their spinnerets twitch—and the retinas of their eyes, seen via their translucent exoskeletons, shift forwards and backwards.

“What these spiders are doing appears to be resembling—very carefully—REM sleep,” says Daniela Rössler, a behavioral ecologist on the College of Konstanz in Germany. Throughout REM (which stands for fast eye motion), a sleeping animal’s eyes dart about unpredictably, amongst different options.

In folks, REM is when most dreaming occurs, notably essentially the most vivid desires. Which ends up in an intriguing query. If spiders have REM sleep, may desires additionally unfold of their poppy-seed-size brains?

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