UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — We’re getting closer to creating airplanes that can fly long distances on electric power but some spiders may have mastered the feat ages ago.
These clever arachnids literally use their silk to catch the wind and travel anywhere from a few meters to hundreds of kilometers.
It’s called “ballooning.”
The thing is, it’s unclear how they do it because the spiders don’t always need fair weather and wind to “fly.”
A new study published in the journal Current Biology suggests static electricity in the atmosphere may be the key.
Researchers at Bristol University put one such spider pilot in a box that shut out Earth’s natural electric field and ambient air.
When the scientists flipped a switch to turn on their own artificial electric field, the spider pointed its rear in the air, let out some silk and left the ground.
When they flipped the switch off, the spider didn’t even bother to try.