Winged Spider Hoax: Image of ‘Scientist Discovers’ Spider With Wings in Newspaper is a Fake

March 11, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

An image of a spider with wings has again gone viral, but it’s a fake.

The image has a caption that reads, “Scientist discovers winged spider.” It appears to be in a newspaper.

But the image was actually Photoshopped and is of a common fishing spider taken in North Carolina by Will Cook. 

There is such an animal called the “winged spider” but it’s more commonly called an orb weaver. It, however, cannot fly and the “wings” on its back are decorative markings.

“More important than any of that though, is that even if the newspaper clipping were genuine, a winged spider is extremely unlikely to exist. Arachnids (and hence spiders) separated from their relatively close relatives the insects several hundred million years ago — well before wings and flight first developed in insect species,” says Planet Save in a hoax-debunking article last year.

It reads: “The only way then that there could be a winged spider is if wings evolved completely independently in spiders — in which case there would likely be many species of winged spiders, and they would be very known.”

The image was being shared widely on Twitter and Facebook this week.