Spiders are everywhere in this Dallas suburb, and they are acting like no other spider ever has before.
Arachnophobia is a real thing. Spiders can be pretty creepy, especially when thousands of them fall upon your city to hunt. But those who lack a fear of spiders have observed a fascinating new set of behaviors in a Dallas suburb this week. According to AgriLife Today, a massive web was strung up in the forest surrounding a local lake by thousands of spiders who are working together to catch insects.
The web was spotted in the neighborhood of Lakeside Park, spanning almost 300 feet in width and rising 40 feet into the air. Researchers have observed webs similar to this one before, but they still know little about the strange creation.
Spiders are normally lone creatures, weaving webs in solitude. The webs discovered in the Dallas area are much different, however. Instead of a bunch of tiny webs sitting next to each other, arachnologists believe that thousands of spiders had worked together to build this enormous “communal web,” so they could better take advantage of massive insect migrations and hatches coming from the nearby lake.
Scientists aren’t sure which species is responsible for weaving the gigantic web, but they zoned in on a few prime suspects. The spiders that created the 2007 mega-web in Lake Tawakoni State Park in Willis, Tx were identified as Tetragnathus guatamalensis. Researchers aren’t positive which species spun the Dallas web, but they believe the culprits belong to the same long-jawed family of spiders, Tetragnathidae.
The spiders also present a great opportunity for research. The spiders coexist peacefully within the football-field-sized web, and show no signs of aggression to individuals of their own species. The spiders are not poisonous and pose no threat to humans, and researchers have pleaded with local environmental officials to leave the web intact.
It’s a rare opportunity for scientists to witness spiders working together toward a common purpose, and it offers great insights into their social behaviors. The spider web may seem frightening, but it is actually a stunning example of a species working to ensure its survival in the wild.