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Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Modern Parable of a Spider Web near Ft. Worth, Texas

Sometimes, modern parables jump right out at you when you least expect it.

This one is from Ft. Worth, Texas, no less.

At least, that's what the headline in my local newspaper said.

This is a spider from the Tetragnathidae Family of spiders, the most prevalent of the 12 families of spiders that have been found weaving this huge, creepy looking canopy of a spider's web at Lake Tawakoni, outside of Ft. Worth, TX.
There are, it is reported, funnel web weavers, sac spiders, orb weavers, mesh web weavers, wolf spiders, pirate spiders, jumping spiders and low-jawed orb weavers, according to a researchers' report.

Three times the spiders have built it. Three times wind and rain have torn it down. At one point, the web stretched about 200 yards, covering bushes and trees to create a creepy canopy.

Why is this web being built? Well, for the same reason spiders have been weaving webs since the beginning of time: to catch food to eat, of course.

Except, here's the thing: "Normally," these spiders don't work together. It is in the nature of the spider world that they would canabalize each other.

For some reason, however, these spiders in Ft. Worth are actually working together. In so doing, they are catching enough food for everyone to eat in abundance.

I know.

Imagine!

In Ft. Worth, Texas.

As near as reachers can figure, the spiders are not known to be Episcopalian.

Neither are they known to be Anglican, much less orthodox or evangelical, fundamental or neo-Puritan, Protestant or Anglo-Catholic, reasserter or reappraiser.

Perhaps, just perhaps, something good might yet come out of Ft. Worth.

The Episcopal Church just might have something to learn about abundance and evangelism and the edification of the church from this modern parable which God seems to be weaving right under our noses.

Here's the full story:

Daily Telegraph

YOU will have trouble ever sleeping again if you're an arachnophobic, so don't read on but researchers have revealed a world-first - spiders who have worked together to make the massive Lake Tawakoni, Texas web.

Three times thousands of spiders worked together to build it. Three times wind and rain have torn it down.

But Tuesday afternoon, thousands of spiders were back at it again, working to rebuild a massive spider web at Lake Tawakoni State Park that at one time stretched about 200 yards, covering bushes and trees to create a creepy canopy.

This, as researchers say they now believe thousands of spiders from different species worked together to make one large, all-encompassing web - unusual from the traditional individual webs that normally would be woven. Together, they've built and rebuilt a web that has caught potentially tens of thousands of flies and bugs as well as the attention of people nationwide.

"These spiders seem to be working together to build it back," said Zach Lewis, an office clerk at the Lake Tawakoni park. "It's really something to see.

"They're crawling on trees, on the ground, everywhere," he said. "We're here praying for rain all the time, but with something like this, you kinda want the rain to stop."

Ever since the web was first spotted this summer at the state park about 50 miles east of Dallas, tourists and park workers alike have been amazed by its magnitude.
A biker and his son reported seeing the web in mid-June, describing it as something similar to a science fiction movie.

"The webs were just streaming in and out through the tops of the trees," Kim Feuerbacher of Rockwall wrote on a Web site detailing the development of the web. "We could not get off that trail fast enough.

"It looked just like a spider would have jumped from tree to tree with a can of silly string."

Researchers say it likely took 1 to two months to weave such a large web.

Researchers took samples of the spiders in late August and Allen Dean, an entomologist at Texas A&M University in College Station, helped identify them.

He found 12 spider families, with the most prevalent being from the Tetragnathidae family. Among what was identified: funnel web weavers, sac spiders, orb weavers, mesh web weavers, wolf spiders, pirate spiders, jumping spiders and low-jawed orb weavers, according to the researchers' report.

For weeks, many have speculated about how such a big web could have been created and whether spiders worked together to build it.

The motive may well be food, researchers say.

The larger the web, the more flies and bugs get stuck, providing an abundant food supply for the spiders.

"Spiders generally are cannibalistic and keep their webs distinct," Dean said. "We're not sure what started the initial webbing . . . but there probably have been thousands of spiders working on the web.

"With the amount of rain that has occurred this year and the huge food supply available, it just created the right condition for all of this," he said. "It's possible we'll see it again. But this happened to be a year where the conditions were right."

For now, park workers and visitors alike are keeping an eye on the web and the spiders.

Mother Nature hasn't helped, with wind and rain knocking down the massive web at least three times.
When spider-fans come to see the web, park host volunteer Trisha Brian tells them if it's down.
"But it's still an amazing site," she said. "Where the web fell down, all the foliage under that has died off. It's brown and yucky.

"But you see the spiders working, trying to rebuild. They're spinning within trees and when the wind dies down, we're assuming they'll go tree to tree again," she said. "Hollywood couldn't have done as good a job in their best day as nature has done with this."


That link again is: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,22405053-5012895,00.html

3 comments:

emmy said...

That's just really cool.

Muthah+ said...

The 6 legged creatures have learned what we 2 legged creatures can't seem to do. I always knew my hometown was good for something.

Mark said...

That was a movie with William Shatner back in the '70's.

The world is doomed.