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Spiders blanket Papamoa field in shimmering 30m cobweb to escape flooding


Tracey Maris went to the park on Easter Sunday to get close to nature - but she wasn't planning to get stuck in a giant cobweb teeming with baby spiders.

Her family were at Gordon Spratt Reserve in Papamoa to play some football in the Easter sunshine when she and her daughter noticed an odd gleaming on the nearby tsunami evacuation mound.

They headed up the hill to investigate, and as they got closer realised they were looking at a ribbon of cobwebs stretching some 30m to Papamoa college.

Although it was a still day, strands of web fluttered in the sunlight.

The giant cobweb almost seemed like a huge spider's nest, but "we thought surely there are no spiders inside that", Maris said.

"We walked further up, and our feet started getting stuck in the cobwebs - and then we noticed little black things on top.

"So as you do we screamed really loudly. Oh my god, they were everywhere - literally thousands of them."

When her husband and stepson came to investigate the spiders immediately started crawling up her son's legs.

She whipped out her phone to get proof. "It was just fascinating - I've never seen anything like it in my life."

Thankfully her arachnophobic oldest daughter wasn't at the park. The youngest was "absolutely fascinated because it was beautiful", she says.

When the family returned to their bikes they too were covered in cobwebby wisps. Back home Maris googled the phenomenon and found a similar phenomenon occurs regularly in Northland when Hikurangi Swamp floods.

Some species of baby spiders spin thin strands of web to help them float in the air and disperse. They are known to use the technique to get to higher ground during flooding.

Maris speculates that after Cyclone Cook the flooding in eastern Papamoa caused all the spiders to congregate on the evacuation mound.

- NZ Herald


We all love bees those fluffy, industrious little workers who make delicious honey and help the environment. Not like wasps. Wasps are jerks. Right?

If you found yourself agreeing just then, you're certainly not alone. A recent study published in the journal Ecological Entomology has confirmed that people almost universally love bees and hate wasps people like wasps even less than flies, and those guys are real sleazebags.


Well, based on nearly 10,000 records from various locations around the UK collected over a six-month period, it seems that 82 percent of house appearances are made by males, largely of the genera Tegenaria and Eratigena, seasonally-driven arachnids commonly referred to as house spiders. These tend to find their way into homes in the fall, and are, for the most part, males seeking mates.



Sightings reach a low in January. They peak in September, and as the fall moves into winter, such peaks occur in a northwest progression across the country. It appears that spiders were spotted most at 7.35pm. This time, however, isn’t indicative of when they enter the house: we just happen to be around then and are most likely to see them.

The team also note that sightings are biased by various anthropogenic effects, with the media attention given to the app back when it was launched perhaps causing or accentuating the September peak. Saying that, the team do note that a previous, smaller study looking at such things in Belgium also noted a September peak.

There were no significant differences in room preference, but spiders were observed the most in living rooms (27.2 percent) and bathrooms (20.8 percent), again in agreement with smaller studies. The researchers do point out, however, that less cluttered bathrooms and accidental traps, like sinks, make spotting them there easier than in, say, cluttered carpeted bedrooms.

Curiously, there was a difference in terms of spider sex when it came to where specifically in the rooms they were found. Females tended to hang out more on ceilings, doors, and windows; males, conversely, seemed to prefer walls.

This was initially puzzling as, clearly, females still had to climb on walls to get to ceilings. However, it’s thought they decide to hang out there and rest as they’re less mobile than their male counterparts, and need to conserve energy.

So there you have it. Thanks to citizen science, consider yourself more enlightened about the eight-legged critters that get aroused and slip into your house.

edited from an article by Robin Andrews