Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 google plus Instagram YouTube Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015

Top 10 new species of 2015: Cartwheeling spiders, 'chicken from hell' and a giant stick insect celebrated in the year's first official list (8)

By RICHARD GRAY (Mail Online)    14:30, December 23, 2015


The cartwheeling spider

Name: Cebrennus rechenbergi

Location: Erg Chebbi desert, Morocco

What is it: Moroccan flic-flac spider

Why it made the list: This agile arachnid uses a gymnast's trick to escape from threatening situations. The spider first assumes a threatening posture to make itself appear as big as possible, but if the danger persists, the spider runs and, about half the time, cartwheels.

Scientists found that the spider could cartwheel about twice as fast as it could run. Terrain is also not a challenge - the spider can spin across flat ground as well as up and down hills.

Rather than attempting to cartwheel away, the spider propels itself toward the source of the threat, perhaps invoking the theory that the best defense is a good offense.

In the barren sand dunes where the spider lives, running away can prove pointless because there is no place to hide.

The high temperatures of its desert habitat would be fatal to the spider if it persisted in this high-energy routine for long, so cartwheeling is thought to be an escape option of last resort.

Even before the spider had been officially named, its behavior inspired a biomimetic robot that can similarly walk or roll.

The Moroccan flic-flac spider hurls itself up and down hills in a cartwheel, as shown in the sequence of images above, as a last ditch resort to help it escape from predators. It can travel twice as fast when spinning than it can when running on its legs normally


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(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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