Spiders are not flying in Texas, they’re ballooning (but it does kind of look like flying)

Spider ballooning is extremely common and happens worldwide

A spider ready to launch as the winds increase. (Flickr/Andy Morton)

Texas – Flying spiders. Texans seem to be very curious if they exist, according to Google.

KSAT did some digging and it turns out this phenomenon of seemingly flight-happy spiders is actually an extremely common practice known as ballooning, according to National Geographic.

When a spider balloons, it releases a sail-like trail of silk that will lift it up and carry it off in the wind. “In some cases, they drop just a few feet from their takeoff site; in others, they get caught in jet streams that take them across oceans,” according to National Geographic.

While there haven’t been any reports of flying spiders in Texas recently, NBCDFW published an article in October 2017 showing video of spiders ballooning across sky.

The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension cited spiders’ ability to balloon as a species survival tactic. “The ability to travel and disperse is a requirement for success in both the plant and animal world. Animals that want to succeed must have the ability to discover new habitats and new lands. Spiders, with their short legs, would seem to be at a disadvantage in the distance travel game, except for one trick," according to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.

Spiders use their hairy legs to test wind speeds before releasing their trail of silk, aerodynamics engineer Moonsung Cho discovered as he was investigating the ballooning phenomenon.

Close up photo of a spider. (Pexels)

It’s just the latest in a string of strange animal news:

Beautiful but dangerous blue dragons discovered on Texas beach are ‘rare find’

Stinging caterpillar season starts in Texas

Bee swarm shows up in San Antonio-area backyard and disappears hours later

Eek!! Stay away from these dangerous critters in San Antonio and South Texas

‘Murder hornets’ have arrived for the first time ever in the U.S., report says

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.