An incredible video filmed in Brazil shows hundreds of spiders “raining” from the sky, adorning the horizon with a flood of countless black dots, reports the Guardian.
The footage was filmed in a rural area in the southern state of Minas Gerais — some 125 miles north-east of Sao Paulo — and captured a large clutter of spiders seemingly falling from the heavens in an overflowing torrent of critters.
The video, which you can watch above, was filmed by 14-year-old Joao Pedro Martinelli Fonseca and was shared on Facebook on January 4. Since then, it has been uploaded on YouTube as well, making headlines on international media outlets.
According to local publication Terra Do Mandu, the arachnid downpour is actually a quite common occurrence, especially in that particular region. The news outlet notes that the spider “rain” is a natural phenomenon typically prompted by torrid summer temperatures and a humid climate.
“There were many more webs and spiders than you can see in the video,” Joao’s grandmother, Jercina Martinelli, told reporters, remarking that the arachnids had taken over the sky by the thousands.
“We’ve seen this before, always at dusk on days when it’s been really hot.”
The airborne arachnids have been identified as belonging to a local species known as Parawixia bistriata, notes Gizmodo. And, while it may seem like the creatures are dropping from the sky in some sort of a fantastic arachnid deluge, the so-called spiders are not actually raining down from above.
Adalberto dos Santos, a biology professor specializing in arachnology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, explained that the spiders are actually suspended in thin air, dangling from giant webs cast high up in the sky.
Parawixia bistriata are orb weaving spiders that are known to be very gregarious. These arachnids usually work together to build giant webs, made up of very fine stands so delicate that they seem invisible to the human eye, reports Science Alert.
This intriguing behavior is part of a tried-and-true hunting strategy, in which the spiders essentially lay a floating trap in the sky to catch insects and small birds. The arachnids band together in the evening to work on their extraordinary webs — which can stretch up to 13 feet across and be almost 10 feet thick — and then retreat to their nests in the surrounding vegetation to spend the night waiting for prey.
A second video filmed by the same family offers a close-up view of some of the protagonists, revealing the thin strands of spider silk that keep them aloft.
This is not the first time that “raining spiders” are being reported in Brazil. In 2013, the Inquisitr reported that a large number of Anelosimus eximius spiders — also a social species — had spun massive sheet webs around telephone poles in Santo Antonio da Platina.