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Are There Spiders that Can Fly? (All About Flying Spiders)

are there spiders that can fly

There are no spiders that can fly as no spider species has wings, however, one spider species called Selenops can glide in mid-air, steering themselves by curling their abdomens.

These species are all capable of gliding by folding their abdomens into silk-covered wing membranes which they use to move through the air, stop suddenly when they need to defend themselves or escape predators, and then resume gliding with the wings spread out again.  

Because of this ability to move mid-air, they are sometimes also called flying spiders, but they can’t fly in the traditional sense of the word.

Are There Any Spiders that Can Fly?

hanging spider

There are no flying spiders in the traditional sense of the word, however, there are some species of spiders that can steer themselves as they glide to the ground.

Compared to other insects, spiders have more control over their movements and are also more efficient in their locomotion. Spiders can crawl, crawl without stopping (crawl locomotion), jump (jumping locomotion), roll (rolling locomotion), and they can run (running).

They can’t fly because of their legs which they use every time they move around the world. The muscles of the leg are not strong enough to lift them or carry them through the air. They don’t have wings like bats do either.

There have been many fake stories about flying spiders going around, many of which claimed that there was a spider species that was able to fly. However, the only spiders that can move in the air are the Selenops spider, which is also referred to as a gliding spider.

Many of those stories are constantly debunked by scientists who mostly agree that there are no flying spiders out there, even if some species might be called that. That’s because most spiders don’t have wings.

There are some species that can glide through the air, like the Selenops spider.

There were also many stories by Texas residents and Chicago residents claiming that there was some kind of flying spiders going around, but likely, what they saw was spiders gliding along with their silk or web, just that the webs weren’t visible and the people thought the spiders were flying through the air.

What is a Selenops Spider?

A Selenops spider is a type of spider that can glide in mid-air by using the silk hairs they have on their abdomen and the wings they have on their back.

Selenops spiders are thought to be one of the primitive ancestors of the winged insects that evolved millions of years ago. This is because of how young these spiders are, as there are very little data about them throughout time due to their use of flying without wings.

The Selenops spider is a spider genus, so it contains 132 different species. It can be found in the rain forests of South and Central America. They are small arthropods with a body length of 1/8 to 5/16 inches long. 

They also come in different colors; they can be brown, black, yellow, orange, and white. They all look like they have wings on their back, but they don’t have any wings like other flying insects as bees or flies do. They use their legs to glide across the air by using their silk-covered wings.

For many decades and even centuries, these spiders were called flying spiders by the locals because they thought these spiders were flying, but they were gliding through the air, rather than flying.

Today, more and more people are interested in this species of spider that has no wings, which is why many scientists are studying them.

This species of spider can glide at speeds of up to five miles per hour, which use the ability of its wing membranes, just like other insects can. This type of spider can also glide for 65 feet in one air-born motion.

Selenops are unique in many ways. Their nocturnal habits are also different from other arthropods because they are not only active at night but during the middle of the day as well. 

How Do Selenops Spiders Fly?

These spiders don’t fly in the air like other flying creatures with wings; instead, they glide through the air using the silk-covered wings that they have.

In an experiment, Yanoviak, the arthropod ecologist at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, found about the different mechanisms these spiders use to seemingly fly in the air. In the experiment, Yanoviak and his colleagues constantly dropped these spiders to see how their flying ability is changing.

What they found was interesting: each time this spider was dropped from mid-air, it was able to change direction. It was able to stabilize itself in the wind when moving through it.

It was also able to change its direction in the wind when it needed to escape its predators, according to Yanoviak in his study. The different movements these spiders have about their ability to fly are useful for flying insects in general, but not so much for spiders.

At first sight, it seemed as though these spiders were simply flying through the air, but considering they had no wings, some experts and arthropod enthusiasts were wondering about the mechanisms that allow these spiders to glide so effortlessly.

It was one of the most surprising findings of all times for spiders, and there is still more research that needs to be done. However, this seems to be a very unique feature that you don’t see with other spider species anywhere in the world.

MORE INCREDIBLE SPIDER ABILITIES:

Conclusion

While there are currently no flying spiders, there is one spider species called Selenops that can glide mid-air. These spiders are mostly found in Central America. There are no other species of spiders that can glide through the air, so it’s appropriate to call this spider species “flying.”

The fact there are no flying spiders doesn’t mean their ancestors didn’t have wings, so it’s hard to say what happened in the history of spiders. It’s more likely that some spider species were able to glide through the air without being able to fly due to the evolution.

There aren’t a lot of studies on flying spiders because they don’t have wings and they won’t evolve if some other spider species with wings evolve or get more popular in scientific research.

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