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Thousands of spiders blanket Australian farm after escaping flood
Yahoo News ^ | March 7, 2012 | Eric Pfeiffer

Posted on 03/07/2012 5:27:55 PM PST by Clintonfatigued

Thousands of normally solitary wolf spiders have blanketed an Australian farm after fleeing a rising flood.

Reuters reports that the flooding has forced more than 8,000 Australian (human) residents from their homes in the city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. But for every temporarily displaced person, it appears several spiders have moved in to fill the void.

"What we've seen here is a type of wolf spider," Owen Seeman, an arachnid expert at Queensland Museum, told Reuters. "They are trying to hide away (from the waters)."

The Australian Museum's entomology collections manager Graham Milledge told Reuters that there's even a term for the phenomenon, "ballooning," and that it is typical behavior for spiders forced to escape rising waters.

You can watch a video here of researchers on the hunt for ballooning spiders from the safety of a hot air balloon.

A dog casually walks through the ballooning spider webs (Daniel Munoz/Reuters)Thankfully for local residents, the occupying arachnids are not likely to set up permanent residence, a la the 1977 William Shatner clunker "Kingdom of the Spiders." Weather reports say the flood waters in Wagga Wagga have begun receding, meaning that locals will soon be returning to their homes and the wolf spiders will also be returning to their natural underground habitats.

And it turns out the spiders are actually doing quite a bit of good while setting up shop above ground. The spiders are feasting on mosquitoes and other insect populations that have boomed with the increased moisture brought about by the rising waters.

"The amount of mosquitoes around would be incredible because of all this water," Taronga Zoo spider keeper Brett Finlayson told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The spiders don't pose any harm at all. They are doing us a favor. They are actually helping us out."

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Miscellaneous
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To: OldPossum

Yeah, I was referring to the spiders I know about in CO. I’ve heard about the brown recluse. I saw a show about a little girl that was bit on a playground and was dead soon after.


41 posted on 03/08/2012 5:50:05 AM PST by beaversmom
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To: beaversmom

They aren’t deadly to an adult, but a bite will guarantee a few really miserable days. The bite itself is quite painful. There is persistent pain at the site for a while along with generalized muscle cramps/spasm and feeling terrible. I wouldn’t mess with it.
I was taught in medical school we do not have brown recluse here in Colorado. Having said that I have seen 1 or 2 bites in the last 25 years of practice that would fit the description. But at least we don’t have fire ants!


42 posted on 03/08/2012 6:44:50 AM PST by Mom MD (The country needs Obamacare like Nancy Pelosi needs a Halloween mask)
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To: Mom MD
But at least we don’t have fire ants!

Me too. My mom said I was standing in a pile of fire ants as a toddler in Alabama getting bit all over. I know Colorado has some things that will get you here too, but we are not like the south as far as bugs, etc. My parents had a dog in Alabama and my mom said the poor thing was covered with ticks all the time and most likely eventually died from that. I do have to say that last year was really bad for mosquitoes here in Aurora though.

43 posted on 03/08/2012 7:08:09 AM PST by beaversmom
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To: a fool in paradise

Brown Recluse spiders swarm all over my body every night.


44 posted on 03/08/2012 7:14:44 AM PST by Lazamataz (I'm a slut.)
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To: beaversmom
Well, they may say CO isn't Brown Recluse territory but I have heard of a few people being bitten by them here. This isn't supposed to be Hobo Spider territory either but I learned that they were here from an article in our local paper. It mentioned the presence of Brown Recluses here too.

Thanks to our highly mobile society lots of critters, especially small ones like bugs, have expanded their ranges considerably.

I agree with you about Black Widows, they don't worry me much because they are so shy. I spent a couple of weeks at a friend's house in NM and had to sleep in an unfinished room. There was a big Black Widow living under the drywall about six feet from where I slept on the floor. There was no baseboard so it was open at the bottom. When I would come into the room it would run up under the drywall. After a while it would come back out to sit in its web. I had no fear that it would bother me. The last thing it would ever do is venture away from its web.

45 posted on 03/08/2012 1:10:40 PM PST by TigersEye (Life is about choices. Your choices. Make good ones.)
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To: TigersEye
Thanks to our highly mobile society lots of critters, especially small ones like bugs, have expanded their ranges considerably.

That's what I've heard too. Someone may be moving here from MO say and transport a recluse or other in their belongings.

46 posted on 03/08/2012 3:19:02 PM PST by beaversmom
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To: jmacusa
Lol. Some of them must have been molting, too. A couple were greenish yellow.
47 posted on 03/17/2012 9:33:13 AM PDT by dhs12345
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