Last week, it seemed that the Tennessee spider invasion had begun when the residents of North Memphis woke to discover a massive network of spider webs, measuring nearly half a mile long, stretched across their neighborhood.
Local NBC affiliate WMC Action News 5 reported the event as a freak occurrence — but experts suggest the army of spiders might have been living there all along.
“Millions of tiny spiders have always been in that field, unnoticed,” Memphis Zoo curator Steve Reichling told the station, “…until now.”
Entymologists describe this mass blanketing of webs as a “ballooning event,”in which baby spiders release long, ultra-light threads of silk that act as an air transport, catching the breeze and carrying them away to new territory.
Scientists have speculated that unusually warm temperatures for this time of year may have caused nearly all the young arachnids in the region to take flight at once. If the same air current caught millions of spiders at the same time, they would likely be deposited in the same area… where they begin doing the usual spider things, we presume.