An unusual partnership between human waste and nature has created a treat for arachnophiles and a nightmare for everyone else — a stream near Jerusalem with its banks lined by spiderweb-covered trees filled with lurking spiders waiting for their prey.
The scene, which alternates between a haunted house display and a strangely beautiful forest-scape of gossamer curtains draped over the trees and branches, has formed along the Soreq creek outside the capital.
Experts explain that treated sewage water pumped into the stream from a treatment plant in the area provides the perfect nutrients for mosquitoes, which in turn became food for long-jawed spiders whose population has exploded.
Arachnophile Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University’s Arachnid Collection, said it is an exceptional case, Reuters reported.
Armicach estimated that millions of spiders created the webs in what is a rare occurrence in the Middle East.
However, the remarkable drapes and the delicate ecological balance that created them will not last for much longer. With winter approaching, the fall in temperature will kill off the mosquitoes and, deprived of the food, the spiders will soon follow.
Long-jawed spiders are of the genus Tetragnatha meaning “four-jawed.” The spiders mate at the end of the summer and are usually found in damp, swamp areas and feed on flying insects.
Those concerned at the thought of millions of spiders lurking in the woods can perhaps take comfort in the fact that the spiders are barely larger than a finger tip, and they’re not poisonous.