Mysterious Enormous Spider Webs Phenomenon

Strange phenomenon of trees & plants even crops are covered with enormous spider webs after the heavy rains or massive floods first occurred in Texas (2007), then in Pakistan (2010) and recently in Australia (2013). Interestingly, variety of spider species are working together to build the massive, sprawling web, according to Allen Dean, the entomologists who are studying the unusual formation in Texas. The weird part is, normally they are cannibalistic species and they live on different area with their separated webs, however after the heavy rains they can live together by combining their webs and sharing the foods.

In 2007, a massive spider web covering several trees, shrubs and the ground for over 200-yards over a trail at Lake Tawakoni State Park, about 45 miles east of Dallas. The late August of 2007 discovery of the unusually large web spurred led entomologists to question its origin and rarity because this weird phenomenon never happen before.

Lake Tawokoni State Park rangers Mike McCord (left), and Freddie Gowin monitor a giant communal spider web at the park near Willis Point, Texas (2007). AP Photo/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Mike Quinn, a biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, collected spiders from the trees and sent them to Texas A&M. When they arrived, Allen Dean studied the 250 specimens and identified 12 families of spiders in the same web. He said the most prevalent type is from the Tetragnathidae family, which typically weave individual orb-shaped webs.

"Tetragnathidae are usually solitary spiders who build their own webs and mind their own business, here they are sharing a lot of foundation strands that are all over the place. They don't have individual webs anymore," said Arachnid expert Hank Guarisco, of Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan.

In 2010, massive floods drove millions of spiders and possibly other insects into the trees to spin their webs at the village of Sindh, Pakistan. At that time, as the water has taken so long to recede, the trees quickly became covered in a coocoon of spider webs.

Beginning last July of 2010, unprecedented monsoons dropped nearly ten years' worth of rainfall on Pakistan in one week, swelling the country's rivers. Nearly 2,000 people died during the disaster and 20 million people were affected, according to the Pakistani government.

Trees covered with spider webs in the Pakistani village of Sindh (2010)
According to Russell Watkins, a multimedia editor with the U.K.'s Department for International Development (DFID), who photographed the trees during a trip to Pakistan last December, people in Sindh said they'd never seen this phenomenon before the flooding.

As for what exactly had spun the webs, Watkins said he didn't know what type of animal was responsible for the tree cocoons in Sindh. "It was largely spiders," he added. "Certainly, when we were there working, if you stood under one of these trees, dozens of small, very, very tiny spiders would just be dropping down onto your head."

According to scientists, the spiders likely collected in the trees after fleeing from the rising flood waters.

The unusual cocoons were a mixed blessing: The huge webs ultimately killed many of the trees they covered, perhaps by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching their leaves. But for a while, the webs also seemed to help trap more mosquitoes in the region, thereby reducing the risk of malaria, Watkins said.

Malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases became a serious concern in the region after the floods receded and left the landscape blanketed in stagnant water. But areas of Sindh with the most web-covered trees also have reported fewer cases of malaria. It's a strange fix for such a pervasive problem, but nature has an odd way of striking a balance.

Recently, in November 2013 after a massive flood in Australia, spiders have gathered on affected areas near trees, covering vegetation of thousands of cobwebs. Large groups of spiders have invaded some Australian cities and covered their crops and plants in a very strange way.

Spider webs covering the crops on a farmhouse in Australia (2013).
Photo: Daniel Munoz / Reuters


The unexplained phenomenon appeared after the heavy flood that the state of South Wales faced recently. Also there are other cities were affected by the same phenomenon such as in Wagga Wagga city, who lived difficult days with the floods and the city's residents left their homes because of the heavy waters of the River Murrbubedgee that flooded up and the city nearly sank under it. After their return to their homes, they noticed large areas of white tissue webs of spiders cover their crops which never happen before in this region. It is mentioned that other towns are also affected in the state of Victoria.

Sources:
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/09/giant-spider-we.html;



Written By Tripzibit on Feb 18, 2014 | 09:38

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