Roan Drive in Rowlett, Texas is a sight worth seeing these days. Not only because of its secluded, quiet nature, but also because the natural beauty got an extra adornment.
This is not recommended for arachnophobes. Otherwise, the view is spectacular. Communal spiderwebs are lining the route in the Dallas suburb, offering viewers a reason to be astonished.
According to Mike Merchant, urban entomologist with the A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Dallas,
“Some stepping off the road for a closer look will see thousands of lanky spiders darting among the webs that extend up to 40 feet into the trees. There is a surreal quality to the extensive webbing covering these trees”.
Impressive as they are, the communal spiderwebs are not at their first appearance. In 2007, the same phenomenon was reported 35 miles from Rowlett’s Roan Drive, in Lake Tawakoni State Park.
The 2007 discovery was the onset of understanding that certain spider species are capable of working together for the greater good. Typically, spiders are working alone to create their own separate webs and become agressive if their territory is trespassed.
Thus, seeing spiders working on communal spiderwebs was a novelty. At that point, the spider-architects behind the communal projects adorning the trees were identified to be part of the Tetragnatha guatemalensis species.
The architects of the giant communal spiderwebs along Roan Drive are yet to be determined. It is possible that it is the same species, but further analysis is needed. Until then, Merchant provided an explanation for what may trigger such a behavior:
“Spider experts have indicated that those ‘right conditions’ appear to include a glut of small insects like midges that emerge at night from lakes. Without lots of food, these communal webs just don’t seem to form”.
If some might find the giant communal spiderwebs eerie, it is important to know that they are not harmful to humans under any condition.
Mike Merchant declared that as they are not aggressive and they are helpful in destroying natural tree pests, like some insects, there is no need for their abodes to be destroyed and the spiders sprayed with insecticides.
Rather, enjoy the ride along Roan Drive and the view.
Photo Credits: itdecs.com