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On Monday, March 5th, about 8,000 people living in the low-lying areas of North Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, Australia were ordered to evacuate their homes thanks to flash flooding caused by the overflowing Murrumbidgee River.
Fortunately, the waters soon subsided, and the residents were allowed return the next day, only to find that their normally green lawns had turned into a wintry wonderland. However, the soft feathery carpet was not snow, but the magical work of thousands of tiny Linyphiidae spiders that reside in the area.
According to experts, these tiny arachnids, that measure a mere one centimeter were also trying to escape from the rising waters. So, they performed a nifty trick called ballooning, whereby they let out individual silk strands to enable them to float up in the air with the wind.
Since there were only a few dry spots left, most of them landed close to each other on high grasslands, trees, shrubs and whatever else they could find to keep them from drowning. Once there, they did what they do best - weave soft wispy webs.
Also known as sheet weavers because of the shape of their webs or money spiders because they are believed to bring good luck, Linyphiidae spiders are quite common, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. However, very few people are aware of them because they are so tiny and usually construct their webs closer to the ground.
This is not the first-time spiders have created this kind of beautiful wonderland. When floods hit Pakistan in 2011, millions of spiders scrambled up trees to escape the water and covered them up with their silken nets. In this case, it also helped in the aftermath, because the webs trapped in malaria-carrying mosquitoes that multiply rapidly around stagnant waters.
Resources: ninemsn.co.au, smh.com.au, uniquedaily.com