Spiders are always listening to you - study

(Getty / file)
(Getty / file)

Hiding in your home, your office, your room - they're listening, but not the SIS or the GCSB.

According to US and Israeli scientists spiders hear everything you do and everything you say.

That's a bit of a surprise since according to those same scientists, spiders don't have ears.

And previously it was believed that spiders could only detect sounds from a few centimetres away.

But even from across the room, they can hear you rummaging around and searching for a rolled up newspaper to whack them with.

The researchers say that tiny hairs on the forelegs of jumping spiders - and likely others - get stimulated by vibrations in the room.

That activates an area in their brains involved with sound processing.

The discovery was an accident.

The scientists had been working on ways to make neural recordings from the brains of jumping spiders using tiny probes in their tiny brains.

One of the researchers crossed the room and his chair squeaked, which pinged their recording equipment.

So, they tested for distance, clapping close to the spider then farther and farther away, until they were outside the recording room five metres from the spider.

Still, the spider picked up the sound.

Based on everything they knew, that shouldn't be possible.

It seems those sensory hairs that work up close also work over a long distance.

The scientists found that spiders were especially sensitive to specific frequencies, probably because they needed to hear the wingbeats of their parasitoid wasp foes.

They're now recording the brains of more types of spiders to see if it's common in others, despite every now and then likely getting hit with a serious case of the willies.