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Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 6 August, 2020

It rained tiny spiders in this Australian town


WE MIGHT COMPLAIN about the frequent bouts of wind and rain here in Ireland, but an Australian town was last week the subject of a far more unpleasant weather phenomenon – raining spiders.

Thousands of tiny spiders took to the skies in a common migration technique known as ballooning.

This is where the spider climbs to a high point, and release silk threads that form a parachute, carrying them away on the breeze.

Goulburn, a town in New South Wales, witnessed this on a massive scale.

Spider web ballooning File photo of web discard after ballooning. Source: Stephen Michael Barnett

The Age reports that the town appeared to have been “invaded by spiders”, with many areas covered in these abandoned silk parachutes.

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“The whole place was covered in these little black spiderlings and when I looked up at the sun it was like this tunnel of webs going up for a couple of hundred metres into the sky,” local resident Ian Watson told the paper.

I was annoyed because … you couldn’t go out without getting spider webs on you. And I’ve got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard.

Martyn Robinson, a naturalist with the Australian Museum, explained that spiders use this ballooning technique either when they first hatch, or to escape floods.

Read: It’s time you met the Sparklemuffin spider >

More: Every arachnophobe will sympathise with this woman’s reaction to seeing a spider >

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Nicky Ryan

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