Everything’s bigger in Texas – and that goes for the spider webs as well – particularly during this time of year. Mike Merchant, an entomologist of Texas A&M University, recently found a massive web shared by thousands of spiders, a tent that has blanketed a number of trees in the suburbs of Dallas. Spiders aren’t known for being social creatures, so this event is unique to spiders of the Tetragnatjhidae family, which build an elaborate network of interconnected webs. The last reported incident of this nature was in 2007 – in nearby Lake Takwoni.
According to Merchant’s description:
“CA Roan Drive is a quiet stretch of road running through Lakeside Park South in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett. But in the trees along a football field-length stretch of the drive, the spiders have been taking over. Someone stepping off the road for a closer look will see thousands of lanky spiders darting among the webs that extend up to 40 feet into the trees. There is a surreal quality to the extensive webbing covering these trees.”
If you feel like this is some threat to mankind out of a sci-fi b-movie, you need not worry. Social spiders such as the ones in Rowlett are completely harmless to humans and if they have any effect at all, it’s a beneficial one – reducing the number of flying pests in the area.
It’s also a matter of scientific interest as researchers like Merchant are not entirely sure what drives one particular family of arachnids to build communal nests when they do. Therefore, Merchant urges people to look on the webs with wonder rather than fear.