I caught this little guy joy riding on the front of my car today. The photo was shot through my windshield. The little spider attached its silk thread to the window and waited until I began to move. As the wind picked up, off he leapt. And away he went hoping the wind would carry him to a bright new future and home. Sadly, as the wind was only produced upon the movement of my vehicle this little spider didn’t make it far. And most likely is laying dead in the road some where.
Spring Spiders Ballooning
The process by which spiderlings will often spread is called “Ballooning”. They spin a little silk from their abdomen and let it loose in the breeze. The silk acts like a parachute or kite, lifting the small spider into the air and off to new heights. They often don’t travel far. A few yards is common. A hundred yards if the wind is just right, which is enough to escort them to the second floor of a home, carrying them safely over the pesticide barrier. So yes, even really good spider control services have a bit of trouble come spring.
Cool Facts about Ballooning spiders:
How High Can Ballooning Spiders Go? 16,000 feet.
Would you believe me if I said 16,000 Feet? Well you should, because these little critters have actually be found on data balloons that collect air samples at this height. 16,000 Feet.
Adult Spiders Balloon too, just not as often.
Ballooning isn’t recommended for most adult spiders. Being heavier they stand to hurt themselves a lot more than a little baby spider. However, there are a few adults that do get out and balloon it up. In fact, some social spiders do this when the heat rises, using the rising heat waves to carry them away. Ballooning without wind sounds pretty risky to me. Luckily that crazy spider family isn’t found in the United States. The Stegodyphus are most common in Asia, Europe, and Africa. But a few of them made it to Brazil.
Ever heard of Gossamer?
Gossamer is the name that was given to this very fine silk used for ballooning. The name gossamer was passed onto fabrics composed of very fine light threads. The gossamer fabric is popular among white wedding dresses. Interestingly enough, they didn’t actually know that what they had name gossamer was spider silk when they first named it.
Spiders are in Spring Fashion
Yep, High Paris Fashion at that. But that is so last 20’10 spring spider season. Spiders invading other areas. …Scary glasses.