Look away, arachnophobes. Scientists discover an average of 15,000 species every year. Here's one of them: the Cebrennus rechenbergi, a spider that moves via back handsprings, or "flic-flac" jumps.
The spider lives in a Moroccan desert, where it was discovered (during "an evening stroll," according to The New York Times) by Dr. Ingo Rechenberg, a bionics expert who used the spider's movements to create his own flic-flacing robot (you can see it in NYT's report).
According to Dr. Peter Jäger, the spider's back handsprings are unique to this species, and it can even do them uphill. It helps the spider move twice as fast as it can run, so it does it when needs to make a quick getaway. It also uses a ton of the spider's energy, so it can't do it for a long time. Or too often -- back handspring-ing five to 10 times a day will kill it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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