JUL 09, 2018 2:29 AM PDT

How Spiders Use Electricity To Fly

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Spider rains, or ballooning, are a natural phenomenon believed by scientists to be caused by the silken threads of spiders that generate enough lift to ride currents of air.

However, according to a recent study, spider rains may actually be due to electricity! Ballooning spiders can fly using the electricity in our atmosphere. They can reach altitudes of almost 5 km and fly for hundreds of kilometers.

The investigators of the research study took ballooning spiders and used them on a small cardboard pedestal that is placed in a special chamber designed to have no electric field or air movement. The researchers then induced the electric fields of different of different magnitudes and observed the spider movements.

The results showed that once airborne, the researchers can make the spiders rise or fall just by turning the electrical field on or off.

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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