It's Not Raining Spiders Here, And Thank Goodness for That
Next time it’s pouring in South Florida, just be glad it’s not raining spiders.
The town of Goulburn, Australia, was reportedly greeted with millions of parachuting arachnids this week. Sounds like something out of a horror flick, right? Turns out some spiders spin bits of silk and use the wind to transport themselves to a new location, a process called ballooning.
The phenomenon happens all the time, but it usually goes unnoticed.
“In these kinds of events [spider rains], what's thought to be going on is that there's a whole cohort of spiders that's ready to do this ballooning dispersal behavior, but for whatever reason, the weather conditions haven't been optimal and allowed them to do that. But then the weather changes, and they have the proper conditions to balloon, and they all start to do it," Todd Blackledge, a biology professor at the University of Akron in Ohio, told LiveScience.
Lizzy Lowe, an arachnology doctoral student at the University of Sydney, says recent wet weather in the area likely led to the headline-making event.
“All of the tiny little spiders that we don’t normally notice are just trying to get away from the flooded areas,” Lizzy Lowe, an arachnology doctoral student at the University of Sydney, told the outlet.
The results can be quite astonshing.
"Everywhere a spider goes it leaves a trail of silk … so if they use somebody else's silk line, they put their silk line over that," Naturalist Martyn Robinson, of the Australian Museum, explained to the Sydney Morning Herald. "You end up with thick silk roads … criss-crossing finer silk lines to produce this interwoven shroud."
Though Robinson says the eight-legged creatures will "disperse once the weather conditions warm up," we're siding with everyone on the Internet and going with: NOPE.
Here's a bit of an explainer:
smh.com.au (@smh) May 14, 2015