Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Social Behavior of Spiders?

From the Associated Press, a report of curious cooperative behavior ... or merely a fluke:

Spiders Create Giant Web
August 30, 2007
Filed at 7:02 a.m. ET

WILLS POINT, Texas (AP) -- Entomologists are debating the origin and rarity of a sprawling spider web that blankets several trees, shrubs and the ground along a 200-yard stretch of trail in a North Texas park.

Officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park say the massive mosquito trap is a big attraction for some visitors, while others won't go anywhere near it.

''At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland,'' said Donna Garde, superintendent of the park about 45 miles east of Dallas. ''Now it's filled with so many mosquitoes that it's turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs.''

Spider experts say the web may have been constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together, or could be the result of a mass dispersal in which the arachnids spin webs to spread out from one another.

[ ... Read the full report ... ]


DianeMD said...

I woud not want to go near that we either! Wonder how big the spider(s) is/are? Hey, anybody ask Steven King about a missing spider posing as a sinister clown??? (joke)

Jonathan Edwards said...

Thats some interesting stuff. Social spiders, huh? It would take a great deal of intrapersonal communication to build a web that big among what? possibly hundreds or thousands of spiders.

This could lead to some interesting research and insights into the brains of these tiny animals.