Skydiving Spider

Photo credit: Mail Online

If the mere thought of spiders frightens you, then this skydiving spider is something you’ll probably want to skip. Discovered deep in the jungles of South America, this creepy crawly can not only glide, but it can change direction in mid-air as well, turning themselves right-side-up in milliseconds and pointing their heads downward to glide. “If a predator comes along, it frees the animal to jump if it has a time-tested way of gliding to the nearest tree rather than landing in the understory or in a stream,” said Robert Dudley, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Continue reading for a National Geographic video on “Super Spiders”.

Although most spiders live for at most two years, tarantulas and other mygalomorph spiders can live up to 25 years in captivity. While the venom of a few species is dangerous to humans, scientists are now researching the use of spider venom in medicine and as non-polluting pesticides. Spider silk provides a combination of lightness, strength and elasticity that is superior to that of synthetic materials, and spider silk genes have been inserted into mammals and plants to see if these can be used as silk factories.