(source) - This is a photo of a section of a four-acre web that was found in 2009 at the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant in Maryland. According to Wired, who ran these photos last week, an estimated 107 million orb-weaving spiders of different species assembled a "megaweb" inside one of the plant's buildings. If you're afraid of spiders, then this web was something out of a nightmare. But a team of scientists who studied the web found it fascinating. In fact, they published a paper about the web:
“We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior. Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was nothing less than astonishing.
In places where the plant workers had swept aside the webbing to access equipment, the silk lay piled on the floor in rope-like clumps as thick as a fire hose.”
The web was eventually removed, but these images of it, courtesy of the Entomological Society of America, should sear it into your memory for all time. It could have been worse. The spiders could have been venomous.
Do you, spiders! Just all over the headlines as of late. First it was the couple whose house was infested with like thousands of brown recluses (which are poisonous as fuck, FYI). Then it was that giant mutant Goliath spider or whatever that fucking monster was. And now we've got this spider metropolis full of complicated web designs and tons of different spider species coexisting in ways that is blowing science's mind. It's like just when you stop paying attention, here come spiders to remind you that they're still the most terrifying bug in the game. Is there honestly anything more creepy that exists? Like, look at that last picture and now just imagine one of those fucking things crawling on your shirt right this second, and tell me that your blood didn't just run cold and you didn't just wiggle your spine in disgust. At this point it's just fear and awe, spiders. I've always thought you were the epitome of fear, but now I just have to marvel at how far you will go to establish yourself as the physical manifestation of a nightmare. It's truly impressive, and I wish you nothing but the best*.
P.S. Grosser thought: how many flies or other bugs must've been in that building prior to this spider city? If a given area can provide enough food to sustain a population of 107 MILLION spiders, then you may want to get Orkin on the line. Hear they do good work over there at Orkin.
* I lied, I hope you all go extinct! Yeah yeah, you eat other bugs for me, whatever. I'll fucking eat them myself if I never have to see one of you 8 legged 8 eyed mutant creatures again.