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Meet the crafty spider that rolls like a wheel to escape predators (VIDEO)

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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The Golden Wheel spider in action (National Geographic)

Deadly swarming spiders in India might be more fiction than fact, but the Golden Wheel spider (Carparachne aureoflava) is the real deal and a marvel to behold.

Scientific American writes about the desert spider, which has an incredibly rare method of escape: It curls its body into a wheel shape and rolls down sand dunes at rapid speeds (reportedly 44 turns per second). It's certainly amazing video, though I think the writer goes a little too far in describing the spider as "cute."

The wheel spider is native to the Namib Desert in southern Africa and usually burrows into the sand both to hide and to surprise its prey. However, its underground dwellings don't always provide shelter from some predators like the Pompilid wasp. The Pompilid is able to detect and rapidly dig out the spider from its burrow.

And the spider has strong incentive to flee. If the spider is caught, the wasp paralyzes it with its stinger and then lays an egg inside the spider's abdomen. In what sounds like the famous and horrifying scene from "Alien," the wasp larvae slowly grows inside the spider's belly, eating it alive from the inside. You can see the wheel spider in action:

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