What animal can take to the air using homemade balloons they've made, pluck strings on a self-made "instrument' to get information, and -- as was recently discovered-- use their bodies as sails to traverse bodies of water, with silk as an anchor?

You guessed it. The humble, magnificent spider.

In this recent research, scientists set out to discover why and how spiders could travel such far distances, so quickly colonize deserted islands (due, eg., to volcanism), and cross bodies of water in their path. They collected 325 wild spiders and dropped them in a pool of water- and all of the spiders landed on the water's surface, suspended by all eight legs. Then the arachnids stretched out their abdomens like sails-- a behaviour never seen on dry land, and certainly not during gusts of wind-- and rode the wind to shore, casting silk anchors and attaching to rafts.

The sailing behaviour was tightly linked to flying behaviour (where spiders use kites or balloons of silk to fly to new lands).

What is the basis of these astounding behaviours? Do these spiders assess the situation, make a plan, and invent novel ways of using their silk and their bodies? Or are they hard-wired to sail and fly when the need arises?