Some spiders are great sailors that can traverse oceans, scientists say

Many spiders can sail great distances over water, using legs or abdomens as sails

Story highlights

  • Some spiders can fly long distances on a string of web silk
  • Many of them can also sail, using their legs or abdomens as sails, study says

(CNN)Some spiders can sail -- they can harness the wind, weigh anchor and toss a line to a raft. They may even cross vast oceans, scientist say.

Their research could help explain why some types of spiders are present on nearly every corner of the globe. It was published this week in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.
    Also, spiders are great pest controllers, so knowing how they move can be useful to humans. "We really want to know more about where they go, what they eat, how they move, how they get to a farmer's field -- for our own benefit," said Sara Goodacre, head of SpiderLab at the University of Nottingham in Britain.
    Many spiders can also fly, but that's not news to scientists. The bugs catch a breeze in lines of web they spew from their abdomens -- a feat called ballooning. That can take them to a few feet the neighbor's yard or many miles to a neighboring country.