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Gossamer        Images © Mark A. Chappell

'Ballooning' is a unique method of dispersal used by several taxa of spiders.   Individuals, usually young animals, climb to the top of a perch and when a breeze comes, spin a long, thin silk thread from their silk glands.   The thread acts as a 'parasail' and a gust of wind will lift them up into the air and carry them away, perhaps for hundreds of kilometers.   Sometimes, huge numbers of spiders will be dispersing in a given area.   They can leave behind an enormous amount of balloon silk, or gossamer, which can cover the ground (and your boots, if you walk through it).   These pictures of gossamer were taken in Autumn in the Biebrza National Park of northeast Poland, near the small city of Bialystok.   Pictures of the spiders responsible for gossamer are here.

  • Canon 1D Mk. II, 500 mm IS or 70-200 f4 IS lenses (2007)