Life Science Environment Ethereal webs blanket Victorian town after floods force spiders to take flight

Ethereal webs blanket Victorian town after floods force spiders to take flight

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Spectacular spider webs have blanketed an Australian town after scores of arachnids used their silken webs to escape the region’s floods.

Storms have been roiling Victoria, with parts of the state hit with torrential rains and major flooding that has knocked out communications and forced some people to evacuate.

In the Gippsland town of Longford, the floods led to an ethereal natural phenomenon.

In an effort to avoid the flood waters, some of the town’s smallest residents – spiders, to be exact – used their webs as an escape mechanism.

Longford locals posted footage on social media of the town shrouded in silky white webs.

The ghostly veils covered trees and fields, with the footage quickly garnering reactions ranging from awe to horror from arachnophobes.

“If the floods weren’t enough, I give you [the] spider apocalypse,” one Reddit user wrote.

The stunning sight was caused by hundreds of thousands of ground-dwelling spiders using their webs to escape the flood waters via a process known as ‘ballooning’ or ‘kiting’.

In the right conditions, spiders release their web balloons into the wind, and ride the breeze using a sail made of their silk threads.

Ballooning allows spiders to launch themselves and travel up to hundreds of kilometres.

Flood fears continue

About 17,000 properties on the AusNet network remain without power after last week’s heavy storms.

The bulk are in the Dandenong Ranges in communities including Olinda, Monbulk and Belgrave.

Most will have power back on by week’s end, authorities say.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp confirmed 98 homes have been deemed uninhabitable, with another 84 significantly damaged.

Of the nearly 9000 requests for assistance amid the floods, most due to trees falling or building damage, less than 100 callouts are outstanding.

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