Spiders go ballooning on electric fields


The aerodynamic capabilities of spiders have intrigued scientists for hundreds of years. Charles Darwin himself mused over how hundreds of the creatures managed to alight on the Beagle on a calm day out at sea and later take-off from the ship with great speeds on windless day.


Scientists have attributed the flying behaviour of these wingless arthropods to 'ballooning', where spiders can be carried thousands of miles by releasing trails of silk that propel them up and out on the wind.

 However, the fact that ballooning has been observed when there is no wind to speak of, when skies are overcast and even in rainy conditions, begs the question—how do spiders take off with low levels of aerodynamic drag? Biologists from the University of Bristol believe they have found the answer.

Continue reading >>> [PHYS.COM]

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