'Spider Rain' Hits Brazilian Town

Arachnids spin webs in power lines

    Photo: Erick Reis

Think the snowstorm that pounded the East Coast this weekend was bad? Try dealing with a rain of spiders. That's what residents of Santo Antonio da Platina, a town in southeast Brazil, faced this weekend. A video captured by a 20-year-old designer shows thousands of the tiny arachnids dangling from a giant web suspended from the town's power lines.

While it may seem otherworldly, Marta Fischer, a spider biologist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, told Brazil's G1 news that eight-legged invasions of this type are actually not uncommon.

"They are spiders from the species Anelosimus eximus, also known as social spiders. They normally stay in the trees during the day, and construct a kind of sheet of web during the afternoon and evening. Each individual makes its own, and afterwards they join them together. Their objective is to capture insects," explained the biologist.

"During the day they destroy their webs so that birds don't do it instead," concluded Marta, who went on to stress that the spiders' venom isn't dangerous to humans.

Anelosimus eximus forms some of the largest colonies in the spider world, with as many as 50,000 individuals sharing a web.

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