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Spiders rain down from the sky over Australia

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She-ra, Princess of Power
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« on: May 24, 2015, 03:10:52 am »

Spiders rain down from the sky over Australia
Posted on Tuesday, 19 May, 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 donít notice it," said entomologist Rick Vetter.

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


Source: Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/05/19/the-science-behind-australias-spooky-spider-rain/
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