Hunting Creepy Crawlies!!!! Pt2 – Spiders and Wasps and Lions! Oh My!!


This hunting blind has been sitting in
this spot for about two years and during this past winter my son cleared it out
of wasps nests but I can see one perched right there watching me in that
crack. You’re not going to see it because it is too dark. I actually filmed it already
and couldn’t get anything to show. So I’m gonna open this window right here. Hopefully i won’t get buzzed or stung. We’ll see what we can see. There’s a spiderweb. No spiders manning it. Not that I can see. I think I hear the red wasps buzzing
around me right now. There’s one flying around. See it right there flying around?!?
Maybe giving me a warning. I’ll probably end up heeding the warning if he does
anything more. Oh yeah!!! Oh yeah!!! They’re not happy!! See them all right there on the corner?? They’re wondering why it suddenly got a
little bit brighter in there, and what’s going on…..?? That’s about as close as I’m gonna get! If you can see you know even these….. That are Red Wasps are not aggressive or not insanely aggressive. I’m like a foot and a half away, I’ve
been here for a while. I have my hand held out with the camera….. and as long as
that’s all I’m doing, they are leaving me alone. So you don’t have to take out (Remove) every
single nest that you see. They provide some benefit as well!! Now I’ve got my arm down here too close to this, and that one is acting all nervous…. I got it closed, and they just flew off!! And YEP! They’re telling me to go! So they
have not stung me or anything yet, but they are right up on me and they’re
following me!! So, you have to be cautious but i didn’t
get stung. I’m also NOT panicking either. I think they can smell your adrenaline
or other fear hormones. I don’t have a tripod with me today but this roof right
here is too tempting to not lift up and turn over. But i need to set the phone
down. I’m likely to find some black widows underneath here, so wish me luck that I
don’t get bit when i’m flipping it up…. There was some movement and made me a little bit nervous as I was lifting it up but it was just some field mice. Look right here. They brought in all
the fine little grass there and they had some little paths and runs through
here. It’s not going to show up that well in the
camera. One or two of them went scampering away when I lifted it. Now, I don’t see any
black widows…… But we did find this lady right here! She’s a big one!! Either a garden spider or a wolf spider. Somebody might be able to identify her better based on those markings. She’s a
pretty good sized one. It looks like with some nasty fangs too. ((No, they were just mandibles.)) I don’t know if she’s going to be
aggressive about me being so close. You see her fangs? Kind of nasty looking! ((It wasn’t fangs, just spider mandibles)) There is a size comparison. My hand is up
against the metal. That’s for size comparison right there. All right, nothing other than a fire ant mound
that was up against here. I don’t see anything else. Usually barn with the woodpile
is going to be notorious for spiders!! brown recluses and black widows….Funnel web
spiders. A big one right there. You can see him…
See how long he’ll stay still!? See him back up in there?? He is an American
funnel web. It’s not really poisonous like….. what is
that?…the Australian funnel-web!? He is just hanging out! All right despite going and looking for
creepy crawlies I don’t want to get bit by a black widow or brown recluse. I gotta
be careful but I’m gonna turn over a couple pieces here and see if we can’t
spot something. I’m not seeing anything so far. Hmmmmm… I guess I got to find a better spot that
might have black widows. Along the ground here in this dirt underneath the pole
barn, you see all these craters!!! what is that??????? Well those are Ant lions!!! What is it the mayfly??? that these are the
nymphs of??? So any way, down at the bottom they make… You know, they work their way down until they make that cone shape. Then along comes an ant and falls in the cone. And with pincers he’ll just grab it! We’ll try to scoop over some dirt, and if they move around you’ll be able to see them. I’ll show you a couple. They actually remind you a little bit….. if you remember watching the old Star TREK movie: Wrath of Khan. They use these guys as their idea for the ear worm or whatever ‘its called’. That they use
against Kirk. Usually once you turn over their burrow
they’ll start moving a little bit to get back up underneath what you’ve exposed. I don’t see any movement there, So, we’ll check over here. One right there!!! The earth is moving…. Right there! I will pick him up
gently. These are antlion larvae (doodle bugs). When I was little we used to call them antlions. See they move backwards but they
have these big nasty pincers mouth parts on the front. I’m trying to
see it There, I blew off some of the dirt so
you might be able to see a little bit better Would you like to have that thing going
down in your ear ???? Look, you can see
right there it just backs up, right into the dirt and
disappears! there’s one!! apparently i
disturbed him. He’s tossing the dirt back out to make himself another cone. yep it’s that one there was another one
there Alright thanks for watching!!!! Let’s see
what else we can find! All right, there’s a mini bail of hay!!!!
It’s only been there for maybe a week at this location. But with the
rain some critters may have a gone underneath it to take cover!!! I can push it back and then we should
back up here we’ll see what’s underneath and then put it back. Yeah, I don’t see mice under there. I thought there might have been
some mice underneath. There’s the dry top….. nothing underneath?? Yeah!!! there are
some creepies here. And there you see that little spider there. Oh she disappeared There it goes weird looking little spider

The Real Life Spider-Men


It’s tougher than any man-made material It’s a combination of strength and elasticity. No other material can actually combine these
two features. Either material is strong or it’s elastic. Spider silk is both. Five times stronger than steel, spider silk
has been tantalizing the human imagination for decades. You want to be Spider Man?
You have to make fibers. But we can’t just farm the silk , because
spiders eat each other, so scientists have pursued other routes. A DNA sequencing breakthrough in Germany means manufacturing spider silk fiber is
no longer pure fantasy. The next step is really producing tons of
the material. In all the offices we have spiders and they’re
like pets. We like to have them around.
We think they’re beautiful. If eight-legged co-workers
make your skin crawl, then the biomaterials lab at Bayreuth
University probably isn’t for you. It’s here that Professor Thomas Scheibel
and his team study natural substances like spider silk in the hope of turning them into
super materials. Spider silk has for a lot of material scientists
been the holy grail for decades. If we take a thumb thick spider fiber, we
could actually get a jumbo jet holding up in air without tearing it apart. It can withstand hundreds of tons of load
in full speed without breaking. The best silk producers are orb-weaving spiders. They have seven different types of silk
with different properties. We find dramatic differences there concerning
mechanics but also concerning other properties. Wanting to harness these characteristics led
to Scheibel’s breakthrough in genetically modifying bacteria to produce
spider silk proteins. This patented technology formed the basis
of AMSilk, the company Scheibel founded with a postdoc from his research lab, Lin Roemer. The bacteria we are using as working horse
are very simple organisms. They only try to grow. And we exploit that, we’re feeding them, we give them
perfect conditions to live and they multiply and multiply. And afterwards we change
their way of living, we give a trigger so
that they stop proliferating and they start producing our protein. After purification, we have the protein in
form of a white powder. AMSilk takes the protein powder, and spins
it into a fiber. So what you can see here is our spinning machine where we produce our Biosteel fiber, which is then transferred to the yarner, who can make the yarn
and later the fabric out of the material. The material is a vegan and biodegradeable
synthetic biopolymer. Rather than use the BioSteel
material in their own product, AMSilk wants to produce it for established brands, who have expertise. Adidas used it to create a concept shoe and Omega made a special edition watch strap. Airbus are also exploring how
it can be used in aviation. They know their product.
We develop together with them, the product has much higher quality in comparison to what we could do on our own. The company has raised millions in venture
capital, but producing enough of the material is the biggest challenge. As it is very thin you need a lot of
the fibre, in a normal sports shoe there are more than 170
kilometres of this fiber, processed into the yarn
and later the fabric of the shoe The company says it has made hundreds of
thousands of kilometres of fibre so far but scaling it up further will take time and money. But like the orb-weaving spider
which uses different silks for different parts of the web, AMSilk is putting the spider silk proteins
to use elsewhere. In the beginning we had this great innovation.
We had thousands of opportunities how to use that for industry. This was a beautiful problem. You can use it for different applications. Everyone had the experience when
he goes to the basement that there might be a spider’s web. If it’s an old house, it might be there for
hundreds of year and it’s not degraded. The question is why? Microbes have a big problem
sticking to the web. If you’re lost in the woods, get a web. You
can use it as a wound coverage device, you can wrap your food. You can actually prevent
your food for rotting for a few days. The material is a proteinaceous materials.
We are all made out of proteins and our body responds very good to the protein and that’s
very suitable for a lot of medical devices. We probably have more than 80 different variants
of silk molecules that we can play with. Some of them are very well suited for tissue
regeneration, some of them are absolutely the opposite. We’re really just at the beginning into understanding
how this material has evolved to actually feature different kinds of applications. That’s exactly what we want. AMSilk is building up production facilities
to make its material at mass scale. It’s hoping to capitalize on the product’s broad potential
and take a lead in an industry harnessing the best attributes of natural substances. We’re living in a time where materials
made from proteins will become more important every day.

This Is The World’s Deadliest Spider

This Is The World’s Deadliest Spider


Most spider bites won’t kill you. Only an itsy-bitsy portion of the world’s
more than 43,000 known spider species pose a danger to humans, and fewer than 30 species
have ever killed a human. Which bites have the best chance of making
you bite the dust? What is the deadliest spider in the world? “Woah woah woah woah, stop there, stop there,
mate!” Britannica lists nine of the most lethal arachnids
on the planet. Among them are the usual suspects, including
the brown recluse and the black widow. But identifying the reigning king of spider
bites is a bit tricky, because there are actually two spiders who can lay claim to the throne. Number 8 on Britannica’s list is the Brazilian
wandering spider, “considered to be the deadliest of all the world’s spiders.” However, number one on that same list is the
Sydney funnel-web spider, which Australian Geographic describes as the undisputed title
holder in the deadly arachnid rankings. So what makes these two particular spiders
so dangerous? Rather than having the arachnids perform a
bite-off to see how many lives they can end within a specific time limit, it seems more
sensible to discuss both the Brazilian wanderer and the Sydney funnel-web in more abstract
terms. Live Science writes that Brazil is home to
eight separate species of Brazilian wandering spider. Their venom contains a mix of different toxins
that can cause burning pain, vertigo, blurred vision, an elevated or decreased heart rate,
spikes or drops in blood pressure, and hypothermia. You definitely don’t want one of these crawling
on you. Luckily for humans, Brazilian wanderers rarely
go in for the kill. A 2008 study determined that only 2.3 percent
of bites from Brazilian wanderers needed to be treated with antivenom because the spiders
inject venom sparingly. They aren’t being merciful, though. Arachnologist Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal explained: “It is unlikely that the spider would inject
all of its venom into you, as this venom is not only needed as a means of defense but
to immobilize prey.” Because it takes time and energy to replenish
venom, if the spider used its whole load on you, it would be vulnerable to would-be predators
and unable to hunt the prey it wants. So unless you come across an especially hungry
Brazilian wanderer, it probably won’t bother to envenom you very much. Not because the spider is nice, but because
you’re just not worth it. Maybe the burning pain people feel when a
Brazilian wanderer bites them is just the sting of rejection. “Ouch.” So how does that compare with the Sydney funnel-web
spider? The deadliest of Australia’s 35 species of
funnel-web, the Sydney variety delivers a nasty neurotoxin which paralyses invertebrates
but causes human neurons to fire continually. A bite might cause your heart to race and
your blood pressure to rise and could kill you within 15 minutes. In case that’s not enough to send you into
an arachnophobic frenzy, a funnel-web’s fangs can puncture everything from toenails to mouse
skulls, and these spiders are inclined to hide in your shoes or house when seeking shelter. Strangely enough, While the venom wreaks havoc
on primates by virtue of an evolutionary accident, dogs, cats, and birds all have built up an
immunity. A total of 13 people have died at the fangs
of the Sydney funnel-web. That body count might be even higher had experts
not developed an antivenom in 1981. Unfortunately, keeping the supply stocked
is a tall order. It takes roughly 70 milkings to acquire enough
venom droplets to produce antivenom. Further complicating matters, a female’s life
span may stretch 20 years while males kick the bucket after about four years and aren’t
usually bred until they’re two years old. According to Ranger Mick from the Australian
Reptile Park, there’s at least one trick you can use to keep these spiders at bay. If Sydney funnel-webs think there’s no place
like your home, you should invest in chickens, which are apparently happy to eat up all the
funnel-web spiders they can get. And if you don’t live in a place where you
can keep chickens, well…there’s always fire. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
stuff are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

THE DYING COCKROACH BEGS FOR HELP


HELLO CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME I NEED YOU TO FLIP ME OVER QUICK BECAUSE I BEEN LIKE THIS AWHILE AND IM HUNGRY I FEEL LIKE IM ABOUT TO DIE HURRY PLEASE I NEED YOUR HELP I PROMISE IF YOU FLIP ME OVER ILL BEHAVE I WILL LEAVE YOUR HOUSE AND NEVER COME BACK PLEASE TRUST ME PLEASE HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME I CANT BREATH I PROMISE I WONT COME BACK ILL TELL MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS NOT TO COME HERE I NEED YOU TO FLIP ME OVER PLEASE HURRY FLIP ME OVER SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME MY LITTLE LEGS AND ARMS DON’T LET ME TURN OVER IM SO VULNERABLE THIS WAY PLEASE FLIP ME OVER YOU SEE I CANT REACH IM SORRY PLEASE HELP ME HELP ME IVE FALLEN AND I CANT GET UP IM FEELING SICK IM STARVING I MISS MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY OH NO HURRY PLEASE HELP ME HELP ME PLEASE SOMEONE PLEASE HURRY HELP ME FLIP ME OVER PLEASE I DONT WANT TO DIE I PROMISE I PROMISE ILL LEAVE AND NEVER COME BACK IM DYING PLEASE HELP ME IM DYING PLEASE HELP ME

Electric fields elicit ballooning in spiders

Electric fields elicit ballooning in spiders


Of all the great flyers the world has
ever known it may come as a surprise that one of the best aviators in the
animal kingdom doesn’t even possess wings spiders instead use long fans of
silk to carry them through the air often for many hundreds of miles in a process
known as ‘ballooning’ they have long been known to have flown the nest in such a way Charles Darwin himself marveled at hundreds of tiny spiders landing on the Beagle while out at sea and later recorded how they took off from the ship with great speeds even on a calm windless day during this time there were
two theories for how ballooning worked the first theory and the most obvious
explanation was that long strands of silk emitted by the spider catch the
wind and the associated drag forces pull the spider aloft but spiders will only
balloon on days where the wind is a gentle breeze which raises the questions
of how there’d be enough force to pull the silk from the spider spinnerets and
how could heavier spiders even become airborne at all the second theory was
the atmospheric electricity could also provide the force needed to get the
spider aloft similar to how your hair lifts to stand on end when you rub a balloon on your jumper spider silk could be lifted into the air by natural
electrostatic forces in the atmosphere these electric fields are present at all
times all around the world but are most noticeable during thunderstorms when
they’re at their strongest surprisingly until now the electrostatic theory of
spider ballooning had never been tested in our lab at the University of Bristol
we isolated spiders from any airflow or atmospheric electricity and generated
our own controlled electric field at levels found in nature in response the spiders began to change their behavior to perform ‘tiptoeing’
where they straighten their legs raised their abdomen and released silk this behavior is only ever seen when a spider wants to balloon furthermore once the spider was aloft its altitude could be controlled by turning the electric
field on and off this demonstrates that spiders can balloon using electrostatic forces alone but in all likelihood they would use a combination of both wind and electricity to balloon in their natural environments so how do the spiders
detect these electric fields? In this experiment it was also observed that the minute sensory hairs on the spiders exoskeleton were similarly moved by the
electric field we can then infer that spiders can feel the charge in the air using the same sensory hairs they would use to detect a breeze the results of this study show us that electrostatic forces could be an integral part of
spider ballooning and by fully understanding the mechanisms behind it
we can better describe population dynamics, dispersal, and ecological
resilience all of which are important for global ecology.

Are Daddy Longlegs Spiders?  (Re: 8 Animal Misconceptions Rundown)

Are Daddy Longlegs Spiders? (Re: 8 Animal Misconceptions Rundown)


In my animal misconceptions video I casually
mentioned that daddy long legs aren’t spiders and received a ton of comments asking for
clarification or suggesting that it’s not that simple, so I feel the need to clear things
up a bit, but first, a disclaimer: If images of spiders make you uncomfortable,
1) you shouldn’t have clicked on this video and 2) you should stop watching, right, about
now. Cutest, spider ever. Right? When editing the video, I decided to cut out
a daddy-longleg discussion, and now you’ll see why. To answer the question ‘are daddy longlegs
spiders?’ we first need to know, what are spiders? And for that we need the biological
classification system you should have learned in high school. Spiders are in the animal kingdom – which
is a pretty broad class of life and not helpful in narrowing things down. The phylum that
concerns us are the arthropods which are a subset of animals with external skeletons,
segmented bodies, and jointed limbs. The arthropods with exactly eight legs and
two body segments are in a class called arachnids – where the name arachnophobia comes from
– and while often used to mean fear of spiders, there are plenty of arachnids that are not
spiders, such as scorpions and mites. The true spiders, are a subset of Arachnids
in the order Araneae. What defines these as spider are their fangs and the poison glands
within them, their numerous eyes and their spinnerets that allow them to make webs. Now that we have a spider checklist on to
the second problem: the name ‘daddy longlegs’ means different things in different places. In Australia this cellar spider is called
a daddy longlegs – which as an eight-legged, multi-eyed, web-spinning member of Araniee
makes it an official spider. It also produces venom, but then so does everything in that
bloody country. Where I grew up this is a daddy longlegs (sometimes
called a harvestman). They have just two, soulless eyes, can’t
web sling and lack fangs and poison glands and so fail the spider checklist and are in
a different order called Opiliones. It was these I had it mind while making the
video. To make things more complicated, in my adoptive
UK the british call this Crane Fly daddy long legs. Unlike the closely related Opiliones
and Araniee the Crane Fly isn’t an arachnid but an insect, the class of arthropods with
six legs and three body segments. And, as if the name wasn’t ambiguous enough
at this point, there is also a plant called daddy long legs. For taxonomical completeness the plant is
over here a different kingdom. But, because of the way life works even this plant is distantly
related to those other daddy longlegs because plants and animals are both eukaryotes which
means that their cells have complex structures, most notably a nucleus. So, to fully the first question: there are
four daddy long legs, three animals, two arachnids, but only one spider among them.

Jumping Spiders See with Rose-Colored Glasses

Jumping Spiders See with Rose-Colored Glasses


This amorous jumping spider is romancing his potential mate. But why bother dressing in flamboyant red if your intended is supposedly colorblind? New research reveals some spiders have a set of rose colored lenses that let them see their suitors in a different light. This is Scientific American. I’m Lydia Chain. Most spiders don’t have very good eyesight let alone color vision. But some types like these brightly colored dancing Habronattus spiders see quite well. “And not surprisingly those are the groups of spiders that hunt for a living instead of capturing things in a web.” Nathan Morehouse University of Cincinnati. But good vision doesn’t mean color vision. Like most spiders, Habronattus spiders have only two types of color receptors in their eyes: green and ultraviolet. Scientists didn’t think they could distinguish other shades. Morehouse and his colleagues discovered Habronattus spiders have a tiny red lens that sits over some of the green receptors in their retina. Those lenses act like rose-colored glasses. They filter the light so those cells only ever receive red light, giving Habronattus the ability to distinguish reds, oranges, and yellows from greens. And it means that exhibited vivid colors during the mating dance isn’t wasted on its audience. Scientists still don’t know why these spiders evolved this super vision. It might make prey easier to spot among the vines and sands of their habitat or help spiders avoid poisonous morsels. And why the males put on such a song-and-dance routine is another question. Are they proving superior genetic quality? Are they hypnotizing the females she doesn’t strike? For spiders, the dating game has high stakes. Some spiders are cannibals and with the wrong move, this male might end up a snack. And so these males are really dancing for their lives. There’s a real premium on them getting this right. This hapless spider failed to impress but since he avoided being a romantic dinner perhaps he got off easy. For Scientific American, I’m Lydia Chain.

The Goats with Spider Genes and Silk in their Milk – Horizon: Playing God – BBC Two

The Goats with Spider Genes and Silk in their Milk – Horizon: Playing God – BBC Two


These, yep, these are our goats So just regular goats! They’re absolutely regular. No,They’re totally incredible goats! So over here we have The kids that were born this year and then the older goats are all on that side And these are your spider goats, these are the spider goat? they’re eating my top. Hey come on. Okay? Hey hey, hey, just you’re in the camara to these kids have the genes for spider In them yes, this is it insane! And where does the spider silk actually come from [I] mean what we would get! It was a design so it comes in the milk. They look like such normal goats, but in fact They’re totally unique and bizarre. I mean, this is bizarre. I guess I would not say it’s bizarre. I think that it it’s It’s certainly different, but you know that they’re absolutely normal. I don’t think there’s anything different about him Hey Freckles Come here Freckles over here, right, so [we] have names for all the goats. He’s actually one of the very original goats that was created Can we actually milk them now? I mean yeah, we can um there’s the two They’re standing right here 57 and 59 who are putting in sweetie We can knock those and and you can see the milk Putting in sweetie putting in sweetie Freckles putting in sweetie the spider goats yes. Yes, just a just a totally regular farm. That’s right That’s right. Come on. I So well-behaved as well that’s right. That’s right. [they] know oh get that out of the way there you go there you go To the pumps just going like that That’s all there is to it. Oh, you can see it on there Yep You can actually see it coming up being seen [love] coming out [see] this is exactly the same as any normal goat man absolute cess Absolutely do exactly the same All right, so she’s about done and we can disconnect this We can [hunker] this open and you can take a look and see Well, just looks like normal milk looks like absolutely normal milk if you actually do an analysis of it And you look at all the components the milk the only thing you’ll find is different Is that there’s one extra protein in there, and that’s our spider silk [protein] all the rest of it looks absolutely like normal goat’s milk you

Turret Spiders Launch Sneak Attacks From Tiny Towers | Deep Look


The world is a very different place when darkness
falls. Most of us head for home … for cover. Because as the shadows creep in, they hide
things … Frightful things … What is that? That little tower? Look, there’s another one. They blend in so well. That was a California turret spider. Its lair is like the turret of a castle, rising
above the forest floor. It’s lined the inside with pearly white
silk. And coated the outside with mud, moss or leaves The turret leads down to the spider’s burrow,
that can descend six inches underground. The spider spends its days down there. As the last rays of sun die out, it rises
… to wait … motionless … Until some unsuspecting creature happens by,
like this pill bug. Every step it takes creates tiny tremors,
betraying its location. Whew! That was close. Turret spiders actually have pretty poor vision. Instead they rely on feel, bursting out in
whichever direction the vibrations seem to come from. So, sometimes they miss. They belong to group of spiders called mygalomorphs
— along with their more famous cousins: tarantulas and trap-door spiders. They pack oversized fangs that swing down
like a pair of pickaxes. They’ were hunting this way long before
spiders started building intricate aerial webs
like this orb-weaver spider. Instead, a female turret spider might live
for 16 years and never stray from her turret. She only ventures into the world for a split
second. Just long enough to drag her next victim down
to its demise. Check this out- a turret spiderling. Once it’s big enough, it’ll venture out
from their mom’s house and set out on its own. But usually not too far away. Deep Look knows what you like… more spiders! Do black widows really deserve their bad rap? And why is this spider … dancing? Leap out and hit that subscribe button and
that little notification bell – so you never miss an episode of Deep Look. See you next time.

Turns Out, Spiders Use Electricity to Fly

Turns Out, Spiders Use Electricity to Fly


[♩INTRO] So you’re walking along, minding your own
business, when you notice something out of the corner
of your eye and look up. That’s when you see thousands upon thousands
of spiders on long silk balloons falling from the sky
all at once. You’ve just witnessed one of the most incredible,and
terrifying, natural phenomena on the planet: spider rains. For a long time, scientists assumed that,
like kites, ballooning spiders can fly because their silken
threads generate enough lift to ride currents of air. But according to a study published in Current
Biology this week by researchers at the University of Bristol
in the UK, they don’t actually need a breeze at all. Turns out, spiders can fly using the electricity
in our atmosphere. Spider ballooning was first documented by
an English naturalist in the 17th century, and ever since, scientists
have been trying to figure out exactly what they’re
doing and why they’re doing it. A lot of the time, the ballooners are baby
spiders looking for a place of their own to settle
down. They can reach altitudes of almost 5 kilometers and fly for hundreds of kilometers. Talk about putting some space between you
and your parents. But instead of loading up their Volvos and
moving to Montana, to take off, the spiders find somewhere high
up, then stand tall, raise their rears, and emit thin, meter-long silk threads in
the shape of a sail. When they let go, they’re pulled into the
air with surprising speed, even on calm days. And that speed is one of the things that has
never quite added up with the idea that these spiders ride the
wind. Biologists have seen spiders ballooning when
winds are almost imperceptible, or even when it’s raining. And the wind hypothesis doesn’t explain
how the spiders eject their silk so forcefully without the help of their legs, or how the strands maintain a fan-like shape
without tangling. So the team from the University of Bristol
decided to test something no one else had: whether the spiders can ride
electricity. The idea that electrostatic forces provide
the necessary lift has been around for centuries, but no one
ever really looked at it. Then, in 2013, a physicist from the University
of Hawaii worked out some of the theoretical details. He released his paper as a preprint that was
never officially published, but the authors of the new study thought it
was worth investigating. The whole thing hinges around the fact that
no matter what the weather is, there’s a difference in electric charge between the ground and the sky that creates
an electric field. So if the spiders’ silk picked up some static
charge, those threads could be pushed by the electric
field. Since like charges repel one another, the
charge of the ground, or whatever the spider is standing on, would
propel the silk out and up. And enough pushing could fling the spider
into the sky. But since the 2013 paper was purely theoretical, the new study’s authors decided to put it
to the test. They took ballooning spiders and placed them
on a small cardboard pedestal in a special chamber designed to have no electric
field or air movement. Then they induced electric fields of different
magnitudes, and watched what the spiders did. Even in the complete absence of wind, the
spiders began to get into that rump-raising position that
sets them up for ballooning. And with a strong enough field, they started
to spin silk, and even flew. Once airborne, the researchers could make
the spiders rise or fall just by turning the electric field on or off. An earlier study, published last month in
PLOS Biology, noted that these spiders seem to test the
wind with their legs before they start to spin their silk sails. And this week’s study found that the hairs
on the spiders’ legs moved in response to changes in electric fields,
too. But those hair movements were different from
the way they moved in response to wind, which means the spiders
might be feeling around for both of those things. Riding electricity could explain some of the
weirder aspects of their flight like how they take off on seemingly windless
days or in the rain. But most of the time, air isn’t completely
still, so the spiders probably use a combination
of electricity and wind to fly. There are still some parts of this left to
figure out, though like how the spiders’ silk becomes charged
in the first place, or whether they can control their flight to
decide where to land. Learning more about how spiders fly can help
biologists predict when they’re going to do it, and get a better understanding of their ecological
needs. And it might also make it easier to predict
those rare episodes of spider rain. Because I don’t know about you, but if ten
thousand spiders are going to land in my neighborhood, I’d would prefer to know that that’s going
to happen before it happens. Thanks for watching SciShow News. If you want to share your love of SciShow
with the world, we finally have created new merch. New shirts, stickers, and mugs. Check them out at DFTBA.com/SciShow. And thank you! [♩OUTRO]