Not Spiderman, spiders are real superheroes
When it comes to special super powers, the comic hero Spiderman has a rival -- the spider. New research in Britain shows the common spider can travel vast distances across water like a ship. They even use their legs as sails and their silk as anchors.
London: When it comes to special super powers, the comic hero Spiderman has a rival -- the spider. New research in Britain shows the common spider can travel vast distances across water like a ship. They even use their legs as sails and their silk as anchors.
Research published on Friday in the open access academic journal BMC Evolutionary Biology reveals how spiders are able to travel across vast distances, and why they are able to quickly colonize new areas. Academic researchers found spiders, using a technique called ballooning, can journey up to 30 km a day in their quest to find new habitats and resources, Xinhua news agency reported.
It was always thought the travelling strategies of spiders were risky as they had little control over where they travelled. "Even Darwin took note of flying spiders that kept dropping on the ship, the Beagle, miles away from the sea shore,” Morito Hayashi from London's Natural History Museum, London, lead author of the report, said.
“But given that spiders are terrestrial, and that they do not have control over where they will travel when ballooning, how could evolution allow such risky behaviour to be maintained?" he asked. "We've now found that spiders actively adopt postures that allow them to use the wind direction to control their journey on water.
They even drop silk and stop on the water surface when they want. This ability compensates for the risks of landing on water after uncontrolled spider flights." Researchers collected 325 adult spiders from small islands in nature reserves in the Nottinghamshire area of Britain.
They observed many of the spider species adopted elaborate postures, such as lifting up a pair of legs, to seemingly take advantage of the wind current whilst on the water surface.