Spiders Can Sail and Walk on Water

Behold! Spiders can sail!

In what seems like the unlikeliest of evolutions, it has been found that spiders can sail and walk on water. How does it do this, you ask? Well, you only have to remember how it is that spiders can travel long distances, and then you can figure out how they sail the waters like pirates. If you don’t, here’s how.

By using their webs, spiders can sail and walk on water, gliding around in a sort of adapted version of ballooning. The key is to use their legs to move them along by using the wind on the water, and letting the web drag in the water as a weight, holding the spider down.

Study observes behavior of spiders and interactions on water

When spiders sometimes land on water by mistake, what happens to them is a phenomenon several scientists undertook to find out. A study then was put underway, which would observe that spiders both can sail and walk on water. Research was submitted in March earlier this year before it was finally published yesterday with the BMC Evolutionary Biology in all its scientific glory.
So basically, if spiders are going off course from their intended destinations, they can just drop onto a body of water and sail across it to reorient themselves and continue back on course. You can watch an example of spider behavior on water here. The adaptation also prevents them from crashing and drowning in water after a crazed flight.

The potential of the sailor spider

This behavior is a fascinating addition to what we already know about spiders, but also shows us how much our small eight-legged friends continue to surprise us. Scientists had wondered why it was theorized that spiders were landlocked, when they were often found in the middle of oceans or on remote islands. The potential of this ability to navigate the waters can best summed up by saying that it allows the spiders to better control where they are going and also increases their odds of spreading out geographically, without the obstacle of water acting as a concern. In other words, now that spiders can sail, there is no stopping them!


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