Ever wondered what it would be like if spiders joined forces in millions and decided to design their super web catering for all of them? This is what it would like:-
Photo credit: Greene et al., 2010/ Entomological Society of America
Spiders are scary enough when they are by themselves, alone without their other intimidating friends, such that killing them might become necessary for one’s ‘survival’ – undoubtedly, getting rid of individual spiders is, in itself, a challenging task. Now, reader, I want you to imagine this scene from the scariest spider movie that could ever be made: millions of spiders together spinning an enormous web all across the ceiling of a 4-acre building. The bad news is that this is not from the imagination of some crazy movie-maker, but, it has actually happened.
This was the fate of the Baltimore Wasterwater Treatment Plant in 2009: 107 million spiders had covered 4-acres of the building with their huge web. The workers of the wasterwater treatment plant had to call for help when they discovered the spider invasion. The webs had even pulled 2-meter long light fixtures from their original positions. Team power sure does an amazing job, huh?!
Before the spiders were destroyed, researchers had the time to document the scene. Entomologists and arachnologists visited the spot to dig into the matter. The scientists noted that the spiders were classified in the orb-weaver group. They reported that more than 95 % of the space in several parts of the building was filled with the webs. In other places, the situation was so bad that the estimated densities reached numbers like 35 176 spiders per cubic meter. One of the authors of the paper said: “In places where the plant workers had swept aside the webbing to access equipment, the silk lay piled on the floor in rope-like clumps as thick as a fire hose.”
“The visual impact of the spectacle as nothing less than astonishing,” they added.