As if spiders were not scary enough, scientists discovered that there is a process in which spiders float in the wind to search for food or even for a new home or mate.
It doesn’t matter the size of the spider, be it small or big, they have a particular kind of behavior, called “ballooning”, that allows them to fly on the wind even for hundreds of kilometers to find the perfect place to colonize. This new study shows the exact process of ballooning.
The study was led by Moonsung Cho and has shown that spiders made some kind of strategy before flying. They’re also smart enough to determine the condition of the wind that can be favorable for this activity.
Spiders float in the wind
Cho has chosen some crab spiders to study. They were observed in Berlin Park and, of course, in a laboratory set up. Crab spiders are about 5 millimeters long and weight up about 25 milligrams.
The study was published in the PLoS Biology journal on the 14th of June and has also found that the first thing that spiders do is to determine the wind by raising one or even both of their front legs. At the moment they sense that the wind speed in less than 7 miles/hour, they release multiple nanoscales fiber silks that are about 10 feet long. Before they take off, they leave some kind of “rope” from silk anchored to the ground or to the blades of grass which were actually the place where they launched. After this, they will start “flying” using what’s left of their strands of the silks. Also, the study has shown that the spiders don’t just spin the silk without an aim during this behavior. Instead of doing that, they follow a complicated strategic mechanism.