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A species of spiny orb-weaver spider has a 19-hour circadian clock. Photo: ojogabonitoo / iStock

Three species of orb-weaving spiders may have the fastest biological clocks known in nature. Their circadian cycles range between 17.4 and 19.0 hours on average, instead of synchronizing with a 24-hour solar light cycle. The research, conducted at East Tennessee State University, was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.

Why it matters: Their clock is so fast, it's unclear how the spiders survive. Studying extreme sleep-wake cycles and circadian clocks can help scientists understand the role these neurological timekeepers play in species survival and what causes our own rhythms to go awry due to disease.

Most research on fast circadian clocks has been done in deliberately-created mutant hamsters and fruit flies.

How they did it: Animals tend to maintain their natural circadian rhythm in the absence of light so the researchers exposed the spiders to constant dark. The spiders alternated between moving and resting in 17-19 hour loops, depending on the species.

Go deeper:

The three species are

Allocyclosea bifurca

and

Cyclosa turbinata

, both types of trashline orb-weavers, and the spiny orb-weaver (

Gasteracanthea cancriformis).

Researchers note that the spiders are most active late at night, in contrast with most nocturnal spiders, which are active early at night. It's unclear if this is related to their abnormally short circadian rhythm.

Go deeper

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Crypto meets the real world

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

The two largest countries in the world seem intent on effectively banning their citizens from participating in crypto, which poses a serious threat to the crypto agenda.

Why it matters: The crypto world is global — but the real world is fragmented into nation-states, each of which claims control of what happens within its borders.

Meadows cooperating with House Jan. 6 select committee

Mark Meadows. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is cooperating with the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the panel said Tuesday.

Driving the news: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel earlier this month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.