An image circulated online shows a newspaper clipping which allegedly shows a new winged spider that has been discovered by scientists. Is this real or a hoax?
The image is fake.
The graphic, which has circulated for several years, shows a fake newspaper clipping which includes the caption: Scientist discovers winged spider.
When we view the real image, however, we see that it is a normal, non-winged spider. It appears that someone added wings and formatted the image to look as if it were printed in a newspaper. Compare the hoax newspaper clipping above with the real image below:
The original photo can be found on this website, with the image dated 9/23/2007. The photo is labeled: Dolomedes sp. (Fishing Spider) – Durham, NC 9/23/07. With cockroach prey.
The “winged spider” image began circulating again in early 2014, with a new – yet still fake – story attached. This version claims that this new flying spider is set to arrive in the U.K. during the summer.
Early Summer threatens UK with Volat-Araneus (The Flying Spider)
WARNING: not for the feint of heart! – This is an article you will definitely want to share.
Humans aren’t the only species that like the hot weather, Top Scientists and Professors from Albion University believe that Volat-Araneus (the Flying Spider) will, without a doubt, migrate to the UK this year. due to the coming hot weather and an abundance of this spiders favorite food, The False Widow!
Do any spiders have wings?
A common question which often accompanies this photo as it is shared online is whether or not any spiders have wings. According to the University of Michigan “BioKids” page on Arachnids, “No arachnids have wings, although some spiders can float on the wind using long strands of silk.”
The chart below shows search popularity for the term “winged spider.” It began climbing in August 2012 until its peak in December of that year. Although declining in popularity since that initial surge, it can still occasionally be seen circulaing on social media.
The story of the winged, flying spider is fake, as is the photo in circulation. No arachnids have wings.
Updated July 10, 2015
Originally published March 2013