Saturday, August 17, 2013

Video: Ballooning Spiderlings

We have a lot of magic up here on our mountain. One of the magics is The Ballooning of the Spiderlings. These presumably adorable baby spiders fly on parachutes of spider silk hither and yon.  In this case, to some powerlines edging our property.

For more information on ballooning, I went to Wikipedia and found two awesome references and some crazy facts:

Ballooning spiders have been found as far as 1600 km (~1000 mi) away from land!
The babies can really fly, as high as the upper atmosphere. (alas, no numbers for how high)

My favorite reference is Wunderbare Welt der Spinnen by Stefan Heimer.  Best title ever!

Then there is the sheer awesome of an academic paper that discusses the physics of spider ballooning. (PDF) The paper goes into the economic impacts of spiders as predators on crop pests.

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