Unless you suffer from arachnophobia, you might find the magnificence of these eight-legged creatures, especially their cartwheeling ability, quite arresting.
A particular type of spider, the Cebrennus rechenbergi, can cartwheel, making it one of the 10 most fascinating species in 2015.
The Cebrennus rechenbergi belongs to the Sparassidae family of spiders that are synonymous with speed and often known as the huntsmen. This nocturnal spider is native to the Erg Chebbi desert in Morocco.
Males can grow anywhere between 13.8 millimeters and 19 millimeters (between half an inch and three-fourths of an inch), whereas the females are bigger and are between 19 millimeters to 19.5 millimeters.
What sets the Cebrennus rechenbergi or cartwheeling spider—nicknamed "flic-flac" by Dr. Peter Jäger of the Senckenberg Research Institute, who identfied the spider—apart from other spiders are its gymnastic abilities when faced with danger. The flic-flac has a talent for performing acrobatic flips in the air, which resemble cartwheels.
The spider is capable of jumping 2 meters (6.6 feet) per second, and this enables it to move two times faster than it can when simply walking.
"Like a gymnast, it propels itself off the ground, followed by a series of rapid flic-flac movements of its legs," stated Jäger. "This gives the spider great flexibility—uphill, downhill or on level ground, Cebrennus rechenbergi can move along with ease. It displays this behavior when provoked, e.g., by a congener, a camel spider, a scorpion or a human."
The Cebrennus rechenbergi, however, uses up a lot of energy when doing these cartwheels, which can be draining, especially in the arid desert. This could lead to the arachnid's death eventually. The spider usually does forward flips but it can also cartwheel backwards.
The list of top 10 species for 2015 released by the International Institute for Species Exploration also includes the feathered dinosaur (Anzu wyliei), coral plant (Balanophora coralliformis), X-Phyla (Dendrogramma enigmatica), bone-house wasp (Deuteragenia ossarium), Indonesian frog (Limnonectes larvaepartus), walking stick (Phryganistria tamdaoensis), sea slug (Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum), bromeliad (Tillandsia religiosa) and pufferfish (Torquigener albomaculosus).
Check out the cartwheeling spider in action in the video below: