It’s a big week for spiders going viral. First, there was the megalopolis spun by a few thousand spiders in Texas, now there are videos, and this article published by National Geographic, based on the study “Arachnid Aloft.” The story has people taking time out of their busy schedules to remember that they hate spiders and would like to exterminate them all with a blowtorch like John Goodman in Arachnophobia.
Now, as an avowed shark apologist, and understander of the circle of life, I’m sure that spiders are useful and vital to the ecosystem and… whatever… truth is, they terrify me. The Selenops spider (often called “flatties”) basically steers itself midair, using its flat body to create a controlled glide. It can also turn itself right side up mid-flight, all the better to hone in on you and everyone you’ve ever loved. If that isn’t enough, researchers dub the Selenops one of the fastest-moving animals on the planet. So, if it misses, it can always just chase you down.
Thank scientist Stephen Yanoviak for bringing this to our attention. For his part, he seems downright giddy — telling NatGeo, “It’s awesome to see them do it. They’re so good at it.” Cool story, Steve. Thanks for the nightmares.