Researchers hunt paragliding alpine spiders in Revelstoke

Gliding spiders living in Revelstoke mountains can travel for hundreds of kilometres peak-to-peak

Royal BC Museum researcher Darren Copley displays some of the spiders he collected on Mount Revelstoke.

Arachnophobes already know their eight-legged nemeses are lurking under the bed, hiding in the wood pile, or weaving a web at face-height on your favourite hiking trail.

Here’s a new gross-out image to sear into your brain: aerial assault from paragliding spiders — who could conceivably float from the sky to land in your hair, or maybe on your neck.

A team of spider researchers from the Royal BC Museum was in the Revelstoke area recently where they scoured alpine meadows looking for spider specimens. They searched Mount Mackenzie, Mount Revelstoke and alpine meadows in Glacier National Park for new specimens to add to their collection.

Museum Entomology manager Claudia Copley joined fellow taxonomists Robb Bennett and Darren Copley, who plucked the creatures from under rocks and other haunts and jarred them up for further study.

Amongst other research, they’re on the hunt for new species.

While here, the researchers noted some species of alpine spiders get around by paragliding.

PHOTO: Claudia Copley is the Senior Collections Manager for Entomology at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria. She’s pictured in the alpine on Mount Mackenzie. Jeff Bolingbroke/Parks Canada photo

They extend a strand of silk and catch gusts of wind in a technique known as ‘ballooning.’ Some spiders can float for hundreds of kilometres at elevations over 5,000 metres — travelling peak to peak.

— notes from Jeff Bolingbroke, Parks Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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