Plants and Animals

The Forecast Calls For Spiders

April 23, 2014 | by Lisa Winter

Photo credit: YouTube

What’s better than one spider? How about several thousand?

Sociality among spiders has independently evolved many times and is a highly conserved trait among some genera. So what does this mean? It means that with a bunch of spiders all working together, they can create much larger webs and can work together to take down much larger prey. One particular species in South America, Anelosimus eximius, can form colonies up to 50,000 strong, capable of making massive sheet webs that start near the ground and stretch up about 20 m (65 ft) high. 

While leaving the engagement party of a friend, a man in Brazil found a large group of spiders dangling overhead. This likely resulted from gusts of wind which destroyed the web in the trees and caused the spiders to temporarily take flight on the wind. The power lines were just a good place to stop and re-group.

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