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Impurest's Guide to Animals - #78 Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider

As the British summer continues to be atypical, we find ourselves storming at full steam through July. Last week the formally extinct White Spotted Bush Frog and its endangered amphibian kin was in the spotlight. This week another animal from a hot climate cartwheels to the forefront. Hope you guys enjoy.

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Issue #78 – Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider

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Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum - Arthropoda

Class – Arachnida

Order – Aranea

Family – Sparassidae

GenusCebrennus

Speciesrechenbergi

Related Species – The Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider is one of the Huntsman Spiders (1)

Range - The Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider is only found in the Erg Chebbi Desert of Morocco

Dune Parkour

The Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider is a medium huntsman spider, with a body length of 1.5 to 2cms in length, covered in white and grey hair. The species is largely nocturnal, although it is sometimes also active during the day. The flic-flac spider in addition to running like most of its kin, it can also moves in a cartwheeling maneuverer, by flipping itself head over abdomen with its front legs. Moving like this, the flic-flac spider can move at speeds of two meters per second, even when moving up hill (2).

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Like most spiders, the flic-flac spider is an obligate carnivore, usually hunting from the safety of its silk lined burrow, which consists of a silk tube with a sand covering over the lid to prevent desecration, that protrudes from the dunes. This burrow is used as cover, to evade predators and to ambush prey on nights that are too cold for constant activity. If caught in the open, the flic-flac spider can perform a backflip to escape attackers, to kick start its roll away from danger.

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Like most species of huntsman, the male flic-flac spider risks being attacked by the female, and brings a gift to buy enough time to mate with the larger female. After this the female retreats to her burrow and lays her eggs, where she will guard them until they hatch.

Five Fun Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider Facts

The name ‘flic-flac’ comes from the aerobic maneuverer of the same name, which consists of a headstand into a standing position.

The Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider isn’t the only spider who rolls, the Wheel Spider (Carparachne aureoflava) also rolls to escape predation, although it relies on gravity to keep it moving.

Because flic-flacing takes a lot of energy, the spider easily becomes fatigued after a long period of activity, even risking death through exhaustion

When picked up the Flic-Flac Spider instinctively clings to the surface, and while venomous, the bite is not harmful to humans.

Igno Rechenberg (1934-Current) the discover of the Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider and professor in bionics created a robot, based on the spider named in honour of him, that uses the same flic-flac movement. At current there are suggestions that robots based on this design could be used in exploration in difficult and extra-terrestrial environments (4).

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References

1. www.arkive.org

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/06/science/a-desert-spider-with-astonishing-moves.html?_r=1

3. Armstrong, S. (14 July 1990). "Fog, wind and heat - life in the Namib desert". New Scientist (1725)

4. http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/05/06/Cartwheeling-spider-inspires-robot/8981399395704/

Picture References

1. http://cdn4.sci-news.com/images/enlarge/image_1903_1e-Cebrennus-rechenbergi.jpg

2. http://images.natureworldnews.com/data/images/full/5262/the-spider-a-new-species-known-as-the-moroccan-flic-flac-spider-cebrennus-rechenbergi-makes-its-home-in-the-the-erg-chebbi-sand-desert-in-southeastern-morocco.jpg?w=600

3. http://www.sciencespacerobots.com/2014pics/flic-flac-spider-home.jpg

4. http://media2.govtech.com/images/1170*785/FlicFlacRobot.jpg

Wow and with that we watch the Flic-Flac Spider cartwheel into the distance. Next week we have a goliath sized request from @xwraith. But until then critic, comment and discuss future species to cover as well as checking out past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

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