The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Quiz: What drugs were these spiders on when they made their webs?

Talk to your spider about drugs -- before some scientist does. <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr user Donald Jusa (CC</a> .)

For decades now, scientists have been dosing spiders with various drugs to see how their web-building capabilities were affected. The grandfather of this proud tradition was British pharmacologist Peter Witt, who introduced his experiments in a 1954 Scientific American article.

"The delicate pattern of the finished web is the result of a precise and complicated pattern of movements by the spider," Witt wrote. "When a spider's central nervous system is drugged, it departs from this pattern, as a man intoxicated by alcohol weaves an erratic course down the street."

Witt published many papers on drugged spider web-building over the years, and inspired other scientists to get in on the act too. NASA even conducted some experiments in the 90s, using computer analysis of web shapes to quantify the extent of various drugs' effects on the spider brains.

"The spider's errant movements leave their telltale tracks in a distorted web," Witt wrote in 1954. "And we were delighted to discover that each drug always produced its own distinctive aberrations in the spider." Seven of those shapes are below -- try to match the right drugs to the right webs.