Biodiv Sci


Advances in spider ballooning research

Pengfeng Wu1, Shuyan Cui1, Ali Abid1,2,Guo Zheng1*   

  1. 1 College of Life Science, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang 110034 2 Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 38040, Pakistan

  • Received:2020-07-27 Revised:2020-10-12 Online:2020-11-11 Published:2020-11-11
  • Contact: Guo Zheng

Abstract: Population dispersal can avoid resource competition and cannibalism in the same habitat, and ensure gene flow, which has important evolutionary and ecological significance. Compared with the migration behavior of insects, some wingless arthropods can also achieve long-distance dispersal through role of their filaments (that is called ballooning). Spiders as carnivorous animals are important parts in terrestrial ecosystems and can play a significant role in pest control in ecosystems. Ballooning is one of the most important way for dispersal of spiders and would be of great importance in species formation, niche differentiation and pest control, but their dispersal is less concerned. In this study, we reviewed the research history of spider ballooning (which can be categorized into three periods) and summarized the current research progress that had been made including the dominant groups and characteristics, three stages of ballooning course (namely take-off, flight, and setting) and influencing factors, two prevalent mechanism theories and four related models, collection and other research methods. Keeping in view the reported past studies, in order to exclusively understand the significance of ballooning as a way of population dispersal, the following research emphases are putting forward to strengthen the identification of ballooning spiders, to highlight advances in the study of the relationship between ballooning data and environmental factors, to explore the whole process of spider ballooning (e.g., take-off, flight and setting). Therefore, outcome of this work will serve as an important reference for knowledge popularization, resource protection and utilization of ballooning.

Key words: arthropod, dispersal, habitat, aerodynamic convection, atmospheric potential gradient