Like a nightmarish scene from a skin-crawling horror movie, more than 25,000 tarantulas have descended upon a small Australian town. Researchers are baffled as to why the newly discovered species of tarantulas arrived in droves in the town of Maningrida, Australia, or why it was not previously discovered if their numbers are so vast. For the time being, the mysterious arachnids have been unofficially named "diving tarantulas" based on their ability to dive underwater in bubbles that they create. However, they also burrow into the ground and create a web tunnel that snags their prey so they can ambush.
Arachnologist Dr. Robert Raven has taken a keen interest in the emergence of the newly discovered tarantula. He feels the mass number of the arachnids could prove valuable in medical research as their arrival is researched and the reason is discovered. He is just as baffled as anyone else as to why they chose Maningrida, Australia, but realizes that not knowing is the beginning stage of any research project, according to Metro.
"Normally, I find two or three hundred spiders in one spot.Presumably, something is missing that would hammer them or there is something good [like a food source].It's one of the beauties of science, being able to say 'I don't know.'"
As if a hoard of 25,000 spiders isn't scary enough, it was discovered that their bite is venomous after a resident was bitten and suffered between six and eight hours of vomiting. Luckily, the tarantulas are not thought to be life-threatening, according to the Mirror. Dr. Raven was not concerned about the venom but was instead worried about the bite itself.
"These are not shallow bites. Long fangs can potentially do damage by ripping tissue."
Although Dr. Raven is interested in the newly discovered species of tarantula and wants to learn more about their origins, he has decided to search out some younger researchers to head up the investigation and report their findings. When asked why he decided not to lead the research himself, he responded with a wise retort.
"Someone young can take over, you'd need to be able to run."
The vomit-inducing venom and tissue-tearing fangs make the "diving tarantulas" a formidable opponent for the small town that did not invite them in. Residents are hopeful the arachnids leave as quickly as they arrive, or that a natural predator arrives and takes advantage of the abundant snack.
[Photo By Hulton Archive/Getty Images]