How many spiders does it take to creep you out? 10? 100? How many spiders make an “extreme spider situation”?
The Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put out a call for “extreme spider” help in 2009, when a giant spiderweb covered almost 4 acres of their facility. Scientists eventually estimated over 107 million spiders were living in the structure, with densities of 35,176 spiders per m³ in spots.
Greene, A et al. (2010). An Immense Concentration of Orb-Weaving Spiders With Communal Webbing in a Man-Made Structural Habitat (Arachnida: Araneae: Tetragnathidae, Araneidae). American Entomologist, 56 (3), 146-156.
The “immense” in their title doesn’t really begin to cover it. From the paper:
“We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior. Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was was nothing less than astonishing.
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.”
Remember, that paragraph was written by 5 mid-career professional entomologists and arachnologists. If they were a bit startled by the size of the web….it was a big freakin’ web.
In some areas of the plant over 95% of space was filled with spider web. The webbing was so dense that it pulled 8-foot long fluorescent light fixtures out of place.
Continue reading at Wired.
Scared of spiders? Look away now! Terrifying photos reveal FOUR-ACRE web teeming with 107 MILLION arachnids
- The web was discovered at the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant
- It covered four acres and was said to have 107 million spiders living in it
- This was the equivalent to 35,176 spiders per cubic square metre of space
- Web was made by a species of orb-weavers known as Tetragnathidae
- Researchers predicted that 95% of the plant was covered in webbing
Read more at The Daily Mail.