Electric Spider Flight

An article that’s been sitting in my unread tabs for a while now, but is pretty cool. We’ve known for ages that spiders can fly, but we’ve only just figured out how they do it.

Ballooning spiders operate within this planetary electric field. When their silk leaves their bodies, it typically picks up a negative charge. This repels the similar negative charges on the surfaces on which the spiders sit, creating enough force to lift them into the air. And spiders can increase those forces by climbing onto twigs, leaves, or blades of grass. Plants, being earthed, have the same negative charge as the ground that they grow upon, but they protrude into the positively charged air. This creates substantial electric fields between the air around them and the tips of their leaves and branches—and the spiders ballooning from those tips.

File under ‘Nature Is Cool.’

Hyena Trump

Fascinating article on hyenas, though I’m not sure being outed as the Donald Trump of the savannah is an upgrade :-)

Even lone hyenas have been known to catch impressively large prey — one bold strategy being to lock on to the animal’s testicles and hang on until the victim bleeds out.

Grab ‘em by the bollix!