Friday, 21 August 2015

Skydiving spiders in South American forests discovered

Date: August 19, 2015

Source: University of California, Berkeley

Summary: Arachnophobes fearful of spiders jumping, creeping or falling into their beds now have something new to worry about. Some spiders might also glide in through the window.

A group of biologists working in Panama and Peru have discovered a type of nocturnal hunting spider, about two inches across, that is able to steer while falling, much like a wingsuit flyer, in order to return to the tree from which it fell.

The spider joins a small number of non-flying insects -- ants, bristletails and some insect larvae -- known to have the ability to maneuver while falling instead of dropping like a rock, according to Robert Dudley, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and one of the authors of a paper about the spider appearing this week in the journalInterface of the Royal Society.

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