Sailing Spiders

Some spiders use multiple skills to sail over water

Research published July 3 in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology supports the idea that some species of spiders can catch the wind to "sail" across bodies of water, which they suggest might be why certain spiders seem to be all over the world. While some spiders were already know to catch the breeze to travel by air relatively short distances, and some are known to be aquatic, the researchers in this study were interested in examining just how well spiders could actually walk on water. So, they collected 325 wild spiders and dropped them on water to see what would happen. All of the spiders began to float and many stretched their legs upwards like sails. In contrast, if exposed to a breeze while standing on a dry surface, they dropped low to the ground.


Hayashi M, Bakkali M, Hyde A, Goodacre SL. Sail or sink: novel behavioural adaptations on water in aerially dispersing species. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 15:118, 2015. doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0402-5


Video from YouTube

More like this

On this day 172 years ago, Richard Dana set sail. About 35 years ago, I discovered Two Years Before the Mast in my local library, and it turned me into a sea story junkie. I read Forester and Sabatini and Melville (of course!)—fortunately, Melville got me more interested in the biology of those…
We like to think of boundaries as being clear-cut borders, but at least in the biological world they generally turn out to be fuzzy zones of change. The line between land and sea is my own favorite example. Last summer my wife and I would sometimes take our oldest daughter Charlotte to the beach.…
A famous illustration of a swamp-bound "Brontosaurus" by Charles R. Knight. From Dinosaurs by William Diller Matthew (1915).As I've been slowly reorganizing the mass of technical papers on my computer (1,600+ and counting), I've occasionally blundered into an old paper or two that I had forgotten…
tags:, giraffe species, Giraffa camelopardalis, speciation, evolution, conservation, molecular phylogeny West African giraffe, currently Giraffa camelopardalis peralta. Image: Wikipedia (Creative Commons) [larger view] How many species of giraffes are there? Well, it may…

Very wonderful information.....very nice story.

I like the idea--sailing spiders. Interesting!