Ballooning spiderlings.

Yesterday, the air filled with ribbons of spider silk. It’s called ballooning and is how the spiders disperse themselves. This isn’t a great photograph but you can get a better look in this video on my Facebook page.

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From https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/eight-legs-two-fangs-and-an-attitude/

‘… it is in this way that the young of many web-building species begin an independent life. Finally free of the egg sac that protected them as eggs and as helpless hatched spiderlings, they, too, hang out a thread to see where the wind will take them. They often float to high altitudes, even into the jet stream, and ballooning spiders have been collected by aircraft from heights of 6000 metres and more. That they have also landed on the decks of ships more than 300 kilometres from land shows how far they can travel by this method.

The ability to travel by air and to go for long periods of time without food (in some cases, a year or more) has enabled spiders to colonise nearly every corner of the globe—and is the reason why Australian spiders frequently turn up in New Zealand, blown across the Tasman by the prevailing westerly winds.’

2 comments

  1. That was a fascinating video to watch–there was so much spider silk in the air that it almost looked like snow. There is such a randomness to the process of dispersion, but it seems to have worked for the spiders. Thanks for alerting and reminding us of yet another of nature’s amazing phenomena.

    Liked by 1 person

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