A massive spiderweb, equivalent in size to four acres, was discovered inside the Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant, teeming with over 107 million arachnids.
The plant put out a call for “extreme spider” help in 2009, Wired reports, as the giant web already covered the same amount of area as three American football fields. Experts were eventually able to determine that a staggering 107 million spiders resided in the nightmarish web, achieving a density of 35,176 spiders per cubic meter in some areas. Astonishingly, that estimate is described as conservative by researchers, who point out that it represents a minimum volume of spiders.
— Timothy Simons (@timothycsimons) November 3, 2014
In certain sections of the plant, the giant spiderweb covered over 95 percent of the interior space. The webbing was so dense that it was actually able to pull 8-foot-long fluorescent light fixtures out of place. The sheer size of the spiderweb was enough to overwhelm the scientists responsible for documenting the massive spider infestation.
“We were unprepared for the sheer scale of the spider population and the extraordinary masses of both three dimensional and sheet-like webbing that blanketed much of the facility’s cavernous interior. Far greater in magnitude than any previously recorded aggregation of orb-weavers, the visual impact of the spectacle was was nothing less than astonishing.
“In places where the plant workers had swept aside the webbing to access equipment, the silk lay piled on the floor in rope-like clumps as thick as a fire hose.”
Among the spiders responsible for the massive web was a species known as the Long-jawed orb weaver, or Tetragnathidae, according to the Daily Mail. Typically found in damp or swampy habitats, these spiders produce a unique orb web in order to catch their prey. They utilize other types of webs for reproduction or transport.
Recently, a spider the size of a newborn puppy was discovered in Guyana. Known as the South American Goliath Birdeater, the arachnid is officially the world’s largest spider, weighing as much as six ounces. Entomologist and photographer Piotr Naskrecki published a blog post detailing his encounter with the massive spider, receiving death threats after it was revealed he harvested a specimen, as the Inquisitr previously noted.
Surprisingly, giant spiderwebs aren’t all that rare. A similar megaweb was reported in Texas in 2007, populated by the same species of spiders found in the Baltimore web.