September 14, 2007
I for one welcome our new arachnid overlords

Ever wonder what might happen if the spiders got organized? Well, now you know.

A variety of spider species built on one another's work to create a sprawling web that blanketed hundreds of yards of trees and shrubs at a North Texas park, according to entomologists who studied the unusual formation.

Heavy rains early this summer created prime feeding conditions for the spiders, which worked collectively to spin a web that nearly covered a pond ripe with mosquitoes and other insects.

"Normally they are cannibalistic and their webs are separated," said Allen Dean, a Texas A&M University entomologist. "They live in harmony because there's so much food available."

The web covered 200 yards along a trail at Lake Tawakoni State Park, about 45 miles east of Dallas. The August discovery of the massive web spurred debate among entomologists about its origin and rarity.


Arachnid expert Hank Guarisco, of Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan., traveled to Texas to take a look for himself. He camped at the park, observing the spiders at night because some of them are nocturnal.

He said he was impressed with the variety of spiders contributing to the web.

"Tetragnathidae are usually solitary spiders who build their own webs and mind their own business," he said. "Here they are sharing a lot of foundation strands that are all over the place. They don't have individual webs anymore."

[voice of Locutus] "You. Will be. Assimilated." [end voice]

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 14, 2007 to The great state of Texas