Who needs a parachute? Some tropical spiders can fly without using silk, making virtuoso dives to nearby tree trunks, scientists have discovered.
The daredevil arachnids seem to steer themselves through the air with movements of their outstretched forelegs, according to a study published August 19 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
It’s an unexpected talent for spiders, which have no history of either flight or wings, scientists say.
“We really did not expect to see gliding behavior in spiders,” says study leader Stephen Yanoviak, a tropical arthropod ecologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
“There are no winged spiders. Spiders don’t fly.” (Also see "Millions of Spiders Rain Down on Australia—Why?")
The behavior may have evolved because tree trunks