Spiders can fly hundreds of miles using electrical gradients

Spider on tip toe.

Distinctive “tip toe” behavior of a spider about to launch

It’s long been known that spiders spiders can “balloon” themselves up into the air using extruded silk strands, sometimes traveling hundreds of miles. Recent work by Erica Morley and Daniel Robert at the University of Bristol demonstrates that the strands aren’t merely caught by the breeze.  The silk threads are negatively charged (like the earth), and are drawn up the positively charged electrical gradient in the atmosphere.  The result is an electrostatic elevator for the spiders.  No wind required (though a little breeze does help move the spider to a new location).

See Ed Yong’s excellent blog post at the Atlantic for more details, or check out the original paper by Morley and Robert at Current Biology.

Photo from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballooning_(spider).

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.