This spider rollin', they hatin', and tryin' to catch it to host larvae
November 21, 2014 11:42 AM   Subscribe

The (Golden) Wheel spider is a huntsman spider native to the Namib Desert of Southern Africa. Like most other huntsman spiders, Wheel spiders don't spin webs, but build burrows in the sand that are reinforced by their silk, in an attempt to hide from their primary predators, the parasitic Pompilid or Spider Wasp. Enter the gymnastic abilities (and source of the name) for the Wheel spider, where the spider will curl up and roll down slope up to 1 meter per second to escape. But Wheel spider isn't the only huntsman to utilize a unique method to flee down hill. There's also the Moroccan flic-flac spider, named for the flic-flac motion of some gymnastic maneuvers (German video; turn on captions and translation for some assistance; description in English). The movement of this spider have inspired some robot designs (more information). And there are other "wheeling" insects, because it's faster to roll than run downhill. If the documentary footage of the Golden Wheel spider is all too serious, here are some clips of the Wheel spider set to music: let the good times roll, and this spider rollin' they hatin'.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Spider, you the wheel MVP.

I am so sorry.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile, in the desert...
posted by effbot at 12:04 PM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is so fascinating but I am very conflicted because I do not want to look at spiders at all and yet I really do aaagghh
posted by Hermione Granger at 12:10 PM on November 21, 2014 [5 favorites]

For the videos of crazy-impressive spider maneuvers, see gymnastic abilities of Golden Wheel spider, and the movement of the flic-flac spider that inspired a new robot design. And watch the silly soundtrack clips at the end of the original post.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2014

That second to last link in the OP was excellent!

"I hate cheer and stability."
posted by blurker at 12:16 PM on November 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes, I know! Beyond the addition of a soundtrack, it adds a whole story, with families to feed and significant points of view for the characters.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:42 PM on November 21, 2014

Thanks for this post; I am right now preparing a presentation on the ecology of spiders to a general audience and this will help in my shock and awe campaign to change the reputation of spiders.
posted by dhruva at 2:14 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by kyrademon at 4:31 PM on November 21, 2014

So brilliant! I had never seen these videos!
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 4:57 PM on November 21, 2014

Wow, this is great! The footage of the flic-flac spider is begging to have a zoidberg "whoop whoop whoop" audio track.
posted by gamera at 8:17 PM on November 21, 2014

Wow, that tag list.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:25 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Reminds me of this classic spider video.
posted by annsunny at 11:08 AM on November 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

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