How Spiders Use Electricity to Fly | Decoder

How Spiders Use Electricity to Fly | Decoder


When you think of flying animals, what do
you think of? Birds, butterflies, or bees might first come to mind, but what about spiders? Even though they don’t have wings, it turns out that spiders are actually
some of nature’s best aviators. So, how do spiders take to the skies? Lightning storms are one of nature’s
most powerful displays of Earth’s electricity. But even under normal weather
conditions, electricity is all around us. The atmosphere holds a positive electric charge while Earth’s surface holds a negative charge. Just like with magnets, similar charges
repel away from each other, and opposite charges attract. This interaction creates something
called an electric field. The force of this electric field is what
allows for some spiders to defy gravity in a remarkable behavior called ballooning. It typically begins at high pointy areas
where the Earth’s electric field is the strongest. First, a spider drops an anchor silk to secure itself. Then, it raises its two front legs in the air, and uses special fine hairs to sense
wind and electrical conditions— sort of like a built-in weather station. If the conditions are right, the spider then “tiptoes” on its back legs, raises its abdomen, and releases its silk to the air. The silk strands are charged, which
causes them to repel away from each other rather than tangling. This form of static electricity
is just like what happens to your hair after rubbing it with a balloon. Now ready to set sail,
the spider breaks off its anchor line, and lifts into the air using the
force it gains from the electric field and wind. Once airborne, spiders likely
use their legs to balance or control speed during their dangerous journey. Most of these trips are short, but some can last for thousands of miles, drifting along with wherever the breeze takes them. There is still a lot to learn about
why certain species of spiders take to the skies, and scientists are still gathering clues
about how spiders use electricity to perform this gravity-defying feat. What other shocking secrets could these spiders still reveal?

81 thoughts on “How Spiders Use Electricity to Fly | Decoder”

  1. Spiders can take to the skies in a process called ballooning, in which they position their bodies to catch air, spinning out silk that uses wind—and the electric field—to create lift. To learn more about this process, read on here: https://on.natgeo.com/2UKQ9mN

  2. Ohhh so thats what it is.. ive been wondering since i saw a spider gliding down from the ceiling to my slipper.. lol today.. my nightmare is coming true XD

  3. Dont let it distract you from the fact that Modi the Leader of India was refused a US visa bcoz he was the butcher of Gujrat while he was Chief Minister of Gujrat. A 100,000 hindus terrorists of his BJP massacred 2000 Muslims on his orders and he told the police not to awnser their phones for 48 hours.

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