Sprawling spider web fascinates, repels visitors

Associated Press
August 30, 2007 at 1:12 PM EDT

WILLS POINT, Texas — Entomologists are debating the origin and rarity of a sprawling spider web that blankets several trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-metre stretch of trail in a North Texas park.

Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park say the massive mosquito trap is a big attraction for some visitors, while others will not go anywhere near it.

“At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland,” said Donna Garde, superintendent of the park about 70 kilometres east of Dallas. “Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs.”

Spider experts say the web may have been constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together, or could be the result of a mass dispersal in which the arachnids spin webs to spread out from one another.

“I've been hearing from entomologists from Ohio, Kansas, British Columbia – all over the place,” said Mike Quinn, an invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who first posted photos online.

Herbert (Joe) Pase, a Texas Forest Service entomologist, said the massive web "could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

John Jackman, a professor and extension entomologist for Texas A&M University, said he hears reports of similar webs every couple of years.

“There are a lot of folks that don't realize spiders do that,” said Mr. Jackman, author of A Field Guide to the Spiders and Scorpions of Texas.

“Until we get some samples sent to us, we really won't know what species of spider we're talking about,” hesaid.

Park rangers said they expected the web to last until fall, when the spiders will start dying off.
This happened here too (Canada) It would be amazing to see in person
Oh! This happened in Texas. They can just execute the spiders. Problem solved.
I think this must be something that's reasonably common, just that it doesnt always happen in places people see it and during times when the news is so slow that it gets reported
I've seen spiders as big as your head down here.
as it happens I have a particularly small head
Phil B
Quote: Originally Posted by ToroView Post

I've seen spiders as big as your head down here.

Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

as it happens I have a particularly small head

Sorry, just had a beetlejuice moment.
Phil B
duplicate - please remove.
Quote: Originally Posted by Phil BView Post

Sorry, just had a beetlejuice moment.

Beetlejuice what a hilarious movie!!

spiders as big as a normal size head eh? wow! What kind of spiders are these? Spiders are amazing! I have a particular fascination with the Portia spider.
In case anyone is interested:
www.spiderzrule.com/portia.htm (external - login to view)

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