|Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider|
|Species Type||Huntsman Spider|
|Environment||Erg Chebbi Desert, Morocco|
|Locomotion||Normal: Crawling about on eight legs|
Escaping: Cartwheeling away
The Moroccan Flic-Flac Spider (Cebrennus rechenbergi) is a species of huntsman spider endemic to the Erg Chebbi, a sandy desert in Morocco. It was the first species of spider found and documented to project itself across the ground by way of cartwheel-like motions; while a similar spider was previously described, the tumbleweed-like golden rolling spider, this spider is restricted in its agility as it can only use the technique to roll down hills. In direct contrast to this, the Flic-Flac can instead propel itself off the ground in such a way as to initiate the "flic-flac" jumps it is named after, which allow it to then travel either along flat ground or uphill. Not surprisingly, this bizarre technique, which actually allows them to move twice as fast as if it had been walking at an impressive 2 meters per second (~6½ feet per second) is used to escape potential predators.
The Flic-Flac uses silk threads to construct tubular webbed structures under the sand that protect it from the day's blazing sun as well as from wandering predators.
Appearance-wise, they are very similar to a related species found in Tunisia, Cebrennus vilosus, though they can be told apart as the species possess slight differences in their sex organs. Outside of this however the characteristic cartwheeling of the Flic-Flac will serve as a dead give away as well.
The discoverer of the spider, bionics expert Ingo Rechenberg, was so impressed by this springy arachnid that he used it as inspiration for a new robot which has been named “Tabbot” after the Berber word for spider, Tabacha. This robot can both walk and somersault along surfaces, and Rechenberg believes that it may be a useful style of locomotion for robots used to explore the bottom of the sea or even Mars.