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Picture: Fields of Spider Silk After Australian Floods

Circulating image depicts fields blanketed in spider silk.


© kozyrina

Brief Analysis
The picture is genuine. During massive flooding in NSW, Australia in 2012, thousands of spiders moved to higher ground to escape the rising waters, creating huge amounts of spider silk in the process. Reuters photographer Daniel Munoz took the photograph near Wagga Wagga NSW on March 6, 2012. Other news pictures by the same photographer show more dragline silk draped landscapes along with the army of spiders who produced the silk.

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There’s Something In This Peaceful Picture That You Don’t Realize. When You See It…OMG.

Detailed Analysis

At first glance, this image, which is circulating vigorously via social media, may look like a peaceful pastoral scene. However, a closer examination reveals that the white covering atop the fields is in fact massive amounts of spider silk.

Some commentators have suggested that the picture has been photoshopped. However, the photograph is genuine. It was one of a series taken by a Reuters news photographer in March 2012 during devastating floods in NSW, Australia.

The Atlantic reported:
Covering the flood near the town of Wagga Wagga, Reuters photographer Daniel Munoz came across a large area draped in spider silk. Thousands of spiders were fleeing the rising waters, many of them trailing behind massive amounts of dragline silk. The webs tangled over weeds, trees, fences, and fields, creating a surreal and eerie landscape crawling with arachnids.
Many more photographs in the series show other silk-draped landscapes. Closer shots depict the countless spiders that created the silk. These are scenes likely to make any arachnophobic tremble in fear.

Australian Geographic also reported on the event, noting in a March 7, 2012 article:

IT'S NOT JUST THE people of Wagga Wagga who were forced to leave their homes this week.

Thousands of spiders also fled and are now busily re-spinning their webs en masse in grass and bushland along Horse Shoe Road, about 10 minutes' drive from the centre of the city in south-western NSW.

The tiny spiders, which are up to one centimetre long, belong to the Linyphiidae family.

They are commonly referred to as sheet weavers because of the shape of their webs, or money spiders because of the superstition they bring good fortune if they land on you.

In their quest to move to safer or better ground, the spiders let out individual strings of silk that catch the wind, lifting them up into the air and away.

And such events are not unprecedented. After widespread flooding in Pakistan in 2010, trees were festooned with web after millions of spiders sought refuge from the rising waters.

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Last updated: November 26, 2013
First published: November 26, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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