UNEXPLAINED: Millions Of Spiders Spin Massive Web

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WILLS POINT, Tex., Aug. 29 ? Most spiders are solitary creatures. So the discovery of a vast web crawling with millions of spiders that is spreading across several acres of a North Texas park is causing a stir among scientists, and park visitors.

Sheets of web have encased several mature oak trees and are thick enough in places to block out the sun along a nature trail at Lake Tawakoni State Park, near this town about 50 miles east of Dallas.

The gossamer strands, slowly overtaking a lakefront peninsula, emit a fetid odor, perhaps from thespiderman.gif dead insects entwined in the silk. The web whines with the sound of countless mosquitoes and flies trapped in its folds.The web may be a combined effort of social cobweb spiders. But their large communal webs generally take years to build, experts say, and this web was formed in just a few months.

Record-breaking rains that flooded Texas earlier this summer inspired outbreaks of crickets and ?webworms,? the caterpillar larvae of the white moth. Mr. Quinn said the rains might have something to do with the web, too.

The staff expects the web to last until colder weather this fall, when the spiders begin dying off. For now the concern is to defend this marvel from teenagers who might take a stick and knock it all down, or little boys wanting to push their little sisters into it.

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