Jumping spiders: for most people, a terrifying combination. For me, a challenge to catch bare handed. And now researchers at Taiwan's National Chung Hsing University have discovered that some species attach a silk 'dragline' before leaping onto their prey to help stabilize flight and control their landing. Plus spiders climb all over you while you sleep. Ahahahahhahahaha, I don't like you.
The study was conducted with Hasarius adansoni, a common jumping spider species that looks a bit like an eight-eyed koala. Chi's team compared the gracefully targeted landings of spiders that attached draglines to their jump-off points to the tumbling crashes of silk-less individuals. The silk, which the spiders spin out rapidly as they fly through the air, likely acts as a stabilizer, with spiders presumably halting their jumps with some "internal friction brake," the researchers conclude.
In-air stability is essential for jumping spiders, which can leap up to 50 times their body length -- proportionally comparable to a human covering a football field in one leap
Somebody remind me why we're studying jumping spiders' jumps again. Is this like, gonna change airplanes? Are we gonna have airplanes shooting goo before landing now? But seriously, how do researchers know the spiders are even doing this on purpose and it's not just the equivalent of shitting yourself when you're scared. Because if I was jumping 50x my body length you better believe I'm gonna land with a squish in my pants.
Hit the jump for two videos, the first of a spider using a silk dragline, the second of a spider that just said f*** it, let's see what happens.
Thanks to tuqueque, who