Monday, 9 July 2018


For hundreds of years people have observed the phenomena of ballooning or kiting behaviour by small spiders that allow them to launch themselves and glide for hundreds of kilometres over land and sea, suspended aloft on gossamer leads.
Even the German term for “Indian summer,” Altweiber-sommer, references the season when the winds fill with errant webs, but for nearly as long as people have noticed this mode of transport, we learn via Dave Log, something has also struck naturalists as aerodynamically incomplete about the explanation that they were just haplessly bobbing along. Researchers, experimenting on past suppositions, are discovering that spiders are not only harnessing the wind but also electrostatic forces to take to the skies, steering their course by sensing and negotiating the Earth’s inchoate magnetic field and the discharge of lightning.