Spiders fly over the ocean using their legs to windsurf across water

Throughout history those who have been on the ocean have described various levels of flying spiders. Some have been in groups, flying through the air in what appear to be webbing balls, while others are simply appearing as rogue spiders flying through the air over the ocean. Flying spiders though is something that has been well documented throughout history and something that has now been examined by experts.

Interestingly though, it doesn’t even matter what type of spider it is when it comes to flying. Many of them share the same qualities that allow them to fly so well, and even more impressively, the spiders that can fly the best – are often the ones that are found right in most individuals gardens at home.


The study found that spiders fly by using their legs as sails, and their webbing as anchors. The silk they produce allows them to anchor down to a location when they have reached the place that they’re trying to get to, while their legs act as the flying agent that allows them to continue on. As surprising as this might seem, the truly impressive feat is the one that was carried out in a lab. The team found that even when executed on command, the spiders would always have the ability to break into flight.

This gives them an incredible advantage and rationalizes why people have seen spiders flying over the ocean in the past. While this is the first time that it’s been confirmed by science in a lab, this certainly isn’t the first time that scientists have had the notion that something like this was happening behind the scenes. The team also found though that spiders can move as much as 30km in a day, if the circumstances are right. This means that the wind conditions are correct, the atmosphere is right, and there isn’t rain or something of that nature preventing them from actually taking flight.


Sarah Goodcare of the University of Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, pointed out that she was surprised at the findings, but even more surprised at the fact that it wasn’t something that had ever been documented before. She said, “One of the most amazing things is that no one had noticed this behaviour before.” However, that isn’t the only impressive thing that these spiders are doing. The team found that the spiders can also survive in water. This means that for those who are flying over the ocean, stopping along the way to rest on the water wouldn’t be something that would destroy their chances of survival.

Goodcare went on to point out that, “Now, we know they can survive in water, so with this get-out-of-jail card, they can move far greater distances than we thought.” It’s clear that spiders have a gift when it comes to traveling and moving long distances, but that gift is definitely even more impressive given the fact that they also have an ability to maintain their life in water after the fact.