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Raining spiders? Large areas of Australia covered in spider webs

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By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/18/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Commonly known as 'Angel Hair,' the spider webs often blanket areas during May and August.

The worst news for spider haters in Australia and around the globe: a natural migration phenomenon where baby spiders are flying is possible and has recently happened in the southern part of Australia.

Baby spiders 'rain' down from the sky, using their webbing as parachutes.

Baby spiders "rain" down from the sky, using their webbing as parachutes.

Highlights

MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Referred to as "Angel Hair," blankets of millions of baby spiders are falling down like snow, covering areas with spider webs. Although some have described the phenomenon as beautiful, there are others who found it annoying and scary.


"What happens is that during a particular time of the year, particularly in May and August, young spiders in the Outback somewhere throw these threads of spiderwebs up in the air and use them as a parachute to detach themselves from the ground and move in large colonies through the sky," explained Keith Basterfield, an Angel Hair enthusiast.

The retiree from Southern Australia added that they usually come down in vast amounts during the early morning or in the late afternoon, according to Goulburn Post. The migration phenomenon can happen several times a year, especially if there are clear skies with some slight wind.


Angel Hair was observed earlier this month. "The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred meters into the sky," said Ian Watson, a resident of New South Wales, Goulburn through the Sydney Morning Herald.


One woman claimed to see silk-like thread "floating through the sky" on May 4, according to The Independent UK.

The thread sightings are linked with the migration technique called "ballooning," explained Martyn Robinson, a naturalist from the Australian Museum. Mostly baby spiders, the spiders climb up tall vegetation then release a silk balloon that enables them to fly and land like parachutes. It was recorded that they can fly up to a distance of three kilometers.

"They can literally travel for kilometers... which is why every continent has spiders. Even in Antarctica they regularly turn up but just die," Robinson added.

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