Mechanoreception in the Exoskeleton of Arachnids: Engineering meets Biology

B. Hößl, H.J. Böhm, F.G. Rammerstorfer, and F.G. Barth (Austria)


Arachnids, mechanoreception, slit sensilla


Mechanosensitive slit sense organs monitor strains in the exoskeleton of arachnids. They occur as isolated slits, in loose groups, and in close side-by-side arrangements known as lyriform organs. The effects of one of the main geometrical parameters of slit arrangements, viz., longitudinal shifts between slits, is studied by planar models. The face displacements of the slits are evaluated by Kachanov’s method, an analytical fracture mechanical approach, and by Finite Element anal ysis. Kachanov’s approximations, which are suitable for single slits and loose groups of slits, are used for studying three typical arrangements of parallel slits. The influence of one of the geometrical parameters on the face displace ments of closely spaced slits is investigated by Finite El ement models. The latter approach is also employed for studying the directional sensitivity of one class of closely spaced slits, which can serve as a model of a lyriform or gan.

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