Residents on May Street and Chelsea Avenue in north Memphis, Tennessee may have been fooled into thinking they had been treated to an early sprinkling of snow. However, a closer inspection proved that the white film grazing their ground was actually a gargantuan spider web almost a kilometer (0.6 miles) in length.
This report from WMC Action News 5, below, shows the incredible structure, as well as the ensuing infestation of “thousands, possibly millions, of spiders.” The spiders are believed to be sheetweb weaver spiders, known for their distinctive webs that look like the ground has been covered in thinly-spun cotton wool.
While this nightmare-inducing scene might seem a little odd, experts see this as a positive sign for the state of the local ecosystem.
Steve Reichling, a Memphis Zoo curator, told WMC Action News 5: “It's a mass dispersal of the millions of tiny spiders that have always been in that field, unnoticed till now. It could be juveniles – millions – in a big emergence event, or adults of a tiny species – probably a sheet web spider – leaving for some reason possibly knowable only to them. In fields and meadows, there are often literally millions of spiders doing their thing, unseen and unappreciated by us. I would not want to live in a world where such things were no longer possible.
“The presence of these spiders tells us that all is well with nature at that location.”
WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee
Main image credit: Christina VanMeter/Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)