The Kid Should See This

“Flying” spiders that can glide through the air from tree to tree

Flying? Falling? Gliding with control! The arboreal Selenops spider can steer itself with a fair amount of accuracy as it “flies” through the air, as demonstrated in the drop tests above. The large, flat spiders (nicknamed “flatties”) aren’t ballooning with silk threads. Instead, they appear to direct their fall using the positioning of their extended front legs, allowing them to glide from tree to tree in the forest canopies of Panama and Peru. From National Geographic:

…in the forests of both countries, the scientists dropped the spiders from a height of 65 to 80 feet (20 to 25 meters) above the ground.

The flatties proved themselves more agile than cats, turning themselves right side up in a matter of milliseconds, pointing their heads downward, and gliding for a tree trunk.

The best skydivers could swerve to a landing after falling only 13 feet (4 meters) or so.

And after they land, their brownish bodies camouflage on the tree trunks. Read the original research: Arachnid aloft – directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders.

Watch more amazing spider videos, more videos about flying, more Panama, more Peru, and by the way, Do Cats Always Land on Their Feet?

This award-winning video collection is reader-supported. Become a sustaining member to keep TKSST online and free for everyone, including teachers and parents who use it as a resource to spark learning and curiosity for kids.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

In the forest canopy with pioneering ecologist Nalini Nadkarni

Rion Nakaya

Spider weaving its web, a time lapse

Rion Nakaya

Each Tree Is Its Own Adventure: Climbing giant sequoias for science

Rion Nakaya

Monkey Monitor: Smithsonian Scientist Meg Crofoot

Rion Nakaya

Climbing & Measuring Redwood Giants with Stephen Sillett

Rion Nakaya

A newly-discovered species of cartwheeling spider

Rion Nakaya

Trogloraptors & How Science Works – Cal Academy

Rion Nakaya

Milena Sidorova‘s The Spider

Rion Nakaya

Growing 500 edible plants in a forest

Rion Nakaya

Get smart curated videos delivered every week.    
Subscribe