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Nature & Environment

Spiders rain down from the sky over Australia

By T.K. Randall
May 19, 2015 · Comment icon 12 comments

The tiny spiders have been covering the landscape in webs. Image Credit: CC BY SA 3.0 Koosg
A unique phenomenon has seen parts of the country covered in a glistening layer of silvery webbing.
As if Australia's menagerie of terrifying spiders wasn't enough of a problem already for arachnophobes, residents of Goulburn this month have seen their houses and gardens covered in reams of spider silk that has been raining down from the sky.

Sometimes referred to as 'angel hair', these silvery strands appear when millions of tiny spiders migrate at the same time using a technique known as 'ballooning' which involves shooting a web in to the air and then hitching a ride as the wind carries it along.
"The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred meters into the sky," said Ian Watson, a local resident who noted that his house now looked like it had been taken over by the creatures.

While 'ballooning' is actually quite a common thing for spiders to do scientists believe that in this case several million of them had been attempting to migrate all at the same time.

"This is going on all around us all the time. We just don't notice it," said entomologist Rick Vetter.

"Even in Antarctica they regularly turn up but just die. That's also why the first land animals to arrive on new islands formed by volcanic activity are usually spiders."

Source: Washington Post | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by KariW 9 years ago
Fascinating, but a little bit scary! Not crazy about spiders!
Comment icon #4 Posted by Robin_Shadowes 9 years ago
Bring out your flamethrowers, aussies!
Comment icon #5 Posted by JinxDeMynx 9 years ago
If Australians weren't Arachnophobes already, they are now.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Eldorado 9 years ago
I hope they have permits else they'll be sent straight back.
Comment icon #7 Posted by KariW 9 years ago
Maybe moving to Australia is not such a good idea after all?? LOL!
Comment icon #8 Posted by ancient astronaut 9 years ago
Radioactive spiders???
Comment icon #9 Posted by Kiltedmusician 9 years ago
And somehow no video link. If it was aliens there would be a video but not for an event that is documented and explained. As though skies filled with spider web snow isn't worth seeing. : /
Comment icon #10 Posted by BeastieRunner 9 years ago
Arachnado? Sharknado 4: Terror of the Arachnado.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Leonardo 9 years ago
Meh, it's only Australia.
Comment icon #12 Posted by McFakename 9 years ago

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