Spiders Fly Using Electricity
Spiders can sense the Earth’s electric field, and use it to launch themselves into the air. Every day, around 40,000 thunderstorms crackle around the world, collectively turning Earth’s atmosphere into a giant electrical circuit. The upper reaches of the atmosphere have a positive charge, and the planet’s surface has a negative one.
Ballooning spiders operate within this planetary electric field. When their silk leaves their bodies, it typically picks up a negative charge. This repels the similar negative charges on the surfaces on which the spiders sit, creating enough force to lift them into the air. And spiders can increase those forces by climbing onto twigs, leaves, or blades of grass.
From “Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity” by Ed Yong for the Atlantic; Photo by Michael Hutchinson
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