Giant Spider Web Takes Over Greek Town

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Arachnophobes, this is not for you. Turn around and go home.

Gone?

OK, let’s begin.

The inhabitants of the town of Aitōliko in Greece woke up on Monday morning to this nightmare fuel: a 300-meter (1,000-foot) gigantic spider web covering one side of the town‘s lagoon.  

Nothing was spared in its filmy embrace; trees, bushes, street signs, the beach, nearly the entire eastern side of the Aetolian lagoon currently sits under this ghostly veil.

So, is this Mirkwood come to life? Has Aragog let his hungry family loose? Seriously, what is happening here?

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Well, it turns out the spiders are having a rather lovely time thanks to a fortuitous number of events all coming together at the same time so they can have one big party.

The spiders, most likely Tetragnatha, or “stretch spiders” due to their stretched look, are warm temperature-loving arachnids that build their nests during mating season (which we know is now) near water.

Greece, like much of Europe, has been experiencing a particularly hot and humid summer, creating a perfect scenario for the spiders to get together in a giant meet and great. The influx of mosquitos thanks to these conditions provides a rather spectacular banquet.

“It’s as if the spiders are taking advantage of these conditions and are having a kind of a party,” Maria Chatzaki, professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Democritus University of Thrace, told Greek news site Newsit.gr.

“They mate, they reproduce and provide a whole new generation.”

(c) Giannis Giannakopoulos/YouTube

Luckily the spiders are not dangerous, and they’re doing a pretty good job of keeping the more-irksome mozzies at bay.

This epic spidery communal effort isn’t a common occurrence, spiders usually like to spin alone, but it has been documented before. In 2015, a giant spider web appeared draped across trees in Texas, and last year a forest in Jerusalem was covered in a vast eerie blanket.

As the weather cools, and the abundance of food drops, the phenomenon will disappear, and humans and vegetation will be none the worse for it.

As Professor Chatzaki put it: "[The] spiders will make their party and die soon.” Let them have their fun until then.

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