As far as many people are concerned, there is nothing to like about spiders. No other animal group on the planet looks quite like spiders. An arachnid’s multiple legs, eyes and two fangs is enough to cut a frightening picture. Many who suffer from arachnophobia fail to maintain composure upon merely seeing a still photograph of a spider. For these people, sharing an environment with living spiders would be too hellish to bear. At the moment, there is at least one urban location on earth where spiders can be seen in every direction. Given the many stereotypes concerning a particular region’s wildlife, many would probably expect a town covered in spider webs to exist in some place like Australia or the Amazon rainforests of South America. However, it is actually a relatively small town in Greece that has seen the latest example of an extremely rare arachnid phenomenon that has yet to be officially named. This phenomenon is characterized by millions of spiders building webs over just about every object that you can imagine being in a small town. The result of this urban spider activity is nothing short of terrifying.
At the moment, spider webs that measure hundreds of meters in length can be seen by boat off of the western coast of Greece. Millions of spiders have wrapped the entire lagoon town of Aitoliko in silken webs. Aitoliko is known as “little Venice,” as it is contains numerous canals. The thousands of spider webs in the town can be spotted in all directions, but the webs are most numerous along the coastline where spider silk drapes boats, brush and trees. A longtime resident of Little Venice claims that his town is known for its high spider population, but he has never seen such large spider webs in his entire life.
Luckily, this phenomenon is rare, but it has occured in other nearby locations in the past. According to arachnologist Maria Chatzaki, these massive swaths of spider webs are always created by the same small-sized spiders known as Tetragnatha. Under each of the thousands of webs in Little Venice there can be found thousands of individual spiders gorging themselves on the gnats that are unusually plentiful in western Greece this season. In rare situations when hot summer temperatures are maintained into the fall, gnats succeed in producing several more generations of offspring. Of course, this high number of gnats attracts nearby predatory spiders, and this is exactly what has happened this year in Little Venice. The constant food supply available to spiders in the region has resulted in extraordinarily high populations of Tetragnatha. Luckily, these spiders, which are only around 2 centimeters in length, are not dangerous to humans.
Would you be interested in seeing a town covered in spider webs first hand?