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Asia Minute: Spider Webs of Intrigue in Australia

spider web pixabay.jpg
Andrey Merkulev/Pixabay

Several areas in Australia continue to struggle with extreme weather this year including drought, fires, floods and wide temperature swings—and now there’s another development.

The fog was so bad in Brisbane on Wednesday that authorities issued a rare visibility alert during the morning rush hour.

Further south in Victoria State, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports thousands of customers may be without power for as long as three weeks after violent storms knocked out electricity.

And in the eastern part of Victoria, there’s an unusual development: massive spider webs.

Publications from the Indian Express in Mumbai to the Daily Telegraph in the U.K. are covering this—not to mention social media around the world—just look for “spider webs Australia.”

Scientists say these webs are a survival tactic—an escape route from floodwaters. The spiders spin out silk as a way to climb to higher ground.

It’s called “ballooning”—on top of the efforts of the spiders, the light silk can be carried quite a distance by breezes.

There are reports of at least one web stretching more than half a mile along a road.

The BBC quotes a curator from Museums Victoria as saying millions of spiders have likely tossed up strands of webs to reach nearby trees to escape the flooding.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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