It seems that spiders can dance their way across the water, to the great despair of those suffering from arachnophobia and to the wonder of biology aficionados.
Despite the fact that most people find them scary and disgusting, spiders are extremely interesting creatures with extremely complex biology and behavioral patterns. According to recent research, spiders are actually able to sail across water basins, using their specialized skills.
A study conducted by a team of researchers from the Natural History Museum of London, led by the head of the Zoology Department, Morito Hayashi, has revealed that spiders are not killed when they land on water. On the contrary, they have developed specialized methods of getting back to shore and these are called spider dances, because its moves are so fluid and delicate.
It seems that spiders are quite often put in the situation of crossing small water basins back to shore, as they cannot control the place where they land at the end of their ballooning process. This is a technique that they use in order to spread their offspring far and wide, in order to give them more chances of survival.
The spiders will climb as high as they can, usually on trees, and then release their eggs from the top, as they jump towards the ground, or the water for that matter, in the event that the tree or other tall place is found close to the water.
This process has reached worldwide fame, when a small Australian town became literally covered in a massive amount of spider webs, following a mass ballooning episode. People were looking with great amazement at the incredible amount of webs that were covering entire fields in a white blanket of spider web.
Morito Hayashi and his team have found half a dozen different techniques that the spiders seem to be able to use when they are found on water in order to make their way back to shore. They have closely observed over 325 individuals from more than 21 different species and they have mapped their behavior. And it is absolutely amazing!
Firstly, all spiders posses water resistant legs, that prevent them from emerging into the water, as they allow the spiders to stay in the water without actually getting wet. They employ these six techniques in order to remain afloat, but each species has a particular pattern of alternating them and along with a personalized gentile performance, specific “dances” have been developed for every spider.
Some spider species can use their abdomens as sail-like objects in order to control the direction of sailing and others raise their legs high in the air in order to achieve direction.
Others can emit webbing to floating objects that are found on the water and then use this web to walk on in order to get tot that specific object that can keep them safe for a while. Afterwords, they can find another floating object or one that is found on shore and walk to that one on their webs.
Morito Hayashi has pointed out that these recent discoveries convey great potential for future research, as they could explain how spiders have managed to make their way onto places far far away from their regular territories, such as isolated or volcanic islands. It seems that we will be finding out many more amazing features of these wondrous creatures in the near future.
Image Source: cbsnews1