The ground lay covered in a beautiful coat of gentlest white, glittering serenely in dawn’s early light. But this isn’t frost. This is North Memphis, Tennessee, and the city—rather than being in a state of deep freeze—is actually covered in a spiderweb a half-mile long.
When the gigantic spiderweb—and ‘millions’ of spiders—was first spotted, residents became ‘desperate for the town to take action’, reported The Washington Post.
Luckily there’s no cause for alarm; the display being an example of what is called a ‘ballooning’ event. This is where usually juvenile arachnids release a thread of silk into the air, catching the air currents before being hoisted to another location, just like a balloon.
‘These ballooning events are quite common,’ Susan Riechart, a professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and former president of the American Arachnological Society, told The Post.
‘Particular air currents favour ballooning,’ she added. ‘This would explain the fact that thousands to hundreds of thousands may take off at the same time.’
Caught by the air currents, the spiderlings have no control over where they will land, but it is not surprising that they may fall in the same area.’
Technically, the threads shouldn’t be called a spiderweb as they are composed of millions of individual strands from lots and lots (and lots) of separate spiders.
But regardless, North Memphis needn’t worry; these same spiders have likely been living peacefully right alongside residents for ages, right up until we discovered their flying kit.