Darwin Day 2012

February 12, 2012

Tags: ballooning, Darwin

Happy Darwin Day!

If you google "darwin day" on blogs, you'll find a variety of science and other writers' personal appreciations of Darwin's genius--highly recommended. Here, we're of course partial to spiders. Darwin was more of a beetle man, but if you follow this link to last year's Darwin Day post, you can read of his noteworthy encounter with spider silk.

Wafting

June 8, 2011

Tags: ballooning, silk

Here's a report of gossamer masses startling people living in the Macedon Ranges shire of Victoria, Australia. The ability of young spiders to balloon is made possible by super-strong major ampullate silk, the silk araneomorph spiders use to rappel and to construct the strongest lines of their webs. Jumping spiders use it as their safety line. You can read more about ballooning in Chapter Five of Spider Silk, "Triumph Over Thin Air." One of my life's goals is to witness such a mass gossamer waft.




Tags

"...a compelling introduction to evolution in action through the lens of spiders and their silks."

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