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Spiders That Appear to Fly from Treetops

Spider of Selenops family | Image: Stephen P. Yanovik

A recent National Geographic article based on data from a study called "Arachnid aloft: directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders" published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface details what's likely a horrible concept to arachnophobes: a flying spider.

"Flying spider" is a bit of a misnomer, however. Selenops spiders, sometimes referred to as “flatties,” essentially coast on air, steering themselves using their flat bodies, gliding so gracefully as to appear in flight. The spider can also maneuver its body in many ways mid-glide, even turning itself right-side up or vice versa. As if that information isn't alarming enough for people firmly rooted in the anti-spider camp, Selenops is one of the fastest-moving creatures on Earth.

Check out the Selenops in all its gliding glory in the video below, and see an additional video as well as read an interesting account from scientists who conducted "glide tests" in a Selenops study at National Geographic.


YouTube Link


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