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February 19, 2019

First-ever MRI of a tarantula's beating heart

From Ann Chin's ScientificAmerican.com post : "A tarantula's small beating heart has been imaged for the first time and revealed in real time with the help of a specialized MRI. Edinburgh University researchers used scanners built for medical research on rodents at the Glasgow Experimental MRI Centre to see into the living arachnid's gut as well."

"The team colored the MRI images to highlight the tarantula's ticker, visible as lighter colors in the posterior part of the body. The image was acquired one slice at a time moving up the length of the spider's heart. In some of the slices — 5% to 10% — the heart seemed to beat twice instead of once, suggesting that the tarantula might experience sudden unpredictable fluctuations in its heart rate at times, or 'double beating.'"

The video up top shows the tarantula's beating heart, with darker areas being cardiac tissue and brighter areas circulating blood.


In the image above, the tarantula's heart, located in the spider's abdomen, is the elongated yellow region pointing to the lower right corner of the graphic.



3-D maximum intensity projection of a tarantula.

February 19, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


Well, if I were a tarantula immobilized in a crazy noisy MRI machine my heart might fluctuate wildly too! I had a pet tarantula. Cleo lived for 14 years. She was a bit sensitive too.

Posted by: tamra | Feb 20, 2019 3:23:02 AM

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