The answer to this question was found only in the middle of the 20th century. Some types of the spider species Thomisidae (more commonly known as the “crab spider”) make these silver rugs not only for hunting flies, but for movement too.
Most of these creatures are born in the period known as “Indian summer” (the end of September – the beginning of October). They climb up high on something natural and start spinning their “magic carpet”. When their flying-craft is ready, the spider climbs onto it and waits. When the convective stream of air lifts the spider’s web up, the spider bites through the thread and starts on a further journey. It’s interesting that spiders can control their webs by deliberately moving the centre of gravity and stretching the threads – in this way they can guide it up and down. In this unusual way, they can cover tens of thousands of kilometers. Their natural habitat is nearly the whole of the Earth. Scientists have noticed them even in the stratosphere.
But what is the main goal of such distant journeys, you may ask? The answer is simple: these creatures can’t even exist side by side without killing themselves struggling for food. That’s why nature decided to settle them far from each other.
Text: Andrey Sugakov-Romanov. Photo: Richard Bradley, Andrey Sugakov-Romanov. Translation: Margarita Maslova.
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