Nature

Weather phenomenon triggers nightmarish spider infestations in Australian homes

The pitter-patter of little feet in a child’s bedroom is a joyous sound – except perhaps when those feet belong to hundreds of baby huntsman spiders.

“Gaaaahhhhhhhh, a friend of mine in Sydney just walked into her daughter’s room and found this,” Hobart, Australia resident Peta Rogers tweeted on Jan. 27.

Rogers’ Sydney friend, who asked not to be identified on social media, had sent Rogers photos and a video of her daughter’s bedroom, after the teen told her “Mom, we’ve got a bunch of spiders up there,” the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) reported on Jan. 30.

When Rogers’ friend went to investigate, she found quite a few spiders in the corner of the room.

“That’s not too bad, there’s maybe 50 or 60,” she says in the video. And then she turned the camera toward another corner, revealing at least twice as many spiderlings crouching on the walls and ceiling. 

“They’re so cute!” she exclaims.

Related: In photos: The amazing arachnids of the world

As the Sydney woman filmed her leggy houseguests, she speculated that they were baby huntsman spiders, which are in the spider family Sparassidae and are widespread in Australia and in other places with warm climates.

One huntsman species, the giant huntsman spider (Heteropoda maxima) from Laos, has a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters), and is the biggest spider in the world by diameter. But the average huntsman has a leg span of no more than 5 inches (12.7 cm), and a body length of just 1 inch (2.5 cm) long. 

During summer in Australia, huntsman populations boom, and it’s not unusual for the spiders to find their way into people’s homes, Australia’s Nine News reported on Monday (Feb. 1).

In fact, many Sydney residents had reported huntsman infestations that week, likely because of recent weather, according to ABC.

A low pressure front after several days of high temperatures brought rain and humidity; huntsman spiders often seek shelter in human homes when heat and moisture are too intense, because houses provide lots of safe nooks and crannies where the spiders can hide – and where females can lay their eggs, said arachnologist Robert Raven, head of Terrestrial Biodiversity at Australia’s Queensland Museum.

However, this type of weather also ushers in favorable conditions for huntsman eggs to hatch, Raven added.

“Low pressure is one of the triggers for emergence from the egg sac,” Raven told ABC.

Warm, moist air is ideal for thin-skinned baby spiders, which quickly dehydrate when conditions are too dry, and one egg sac can contain hundreds of baby huntsmen – which could lead to mass infestations such as the one in the video.

Alas, these dense clusters of cute baby spiders don’t linger for long, as the spiderlings are “highly cannibalistic” and quickly begin devouring each other within a day or two, arachnologist Lizzie Lowe, a postdoc in the Behavioural Ecology Group at Australia’s Macquarie University, told Nine News. 

Related content:

Weird and wonderful: 9 bizarre spiders

In photos: Fish-eating spiders around the world

Creepy, crawly & incredible: Photos of spiders 

This article was originally published by Live Science. Read the original article here.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

NASA perplexed by strange geological stripes appearing in Russia
Gorgeous Egyptian art from 4,600 years ago reveals an extinct goose
Slime mold doesn’t have a brain, but it can ‘remember’ where to find food
NASA deliberately made eerie glowing clouds… to study eerie glowing clouds
Ancient Roman chariot used in parades unearthed ‘almost intact’ near Pompeii

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *