By Duncan Geere, Wired UK
The unprecedented flooding in Pakistan in the latter half of 2010 disrupted the lives of 20 million people, but it also affected the country's arachnid population.
With more than a fifth of the country submerged, millions of spiders climbed into trees to escape the rising floodwaters. The water took so long to recede, the trees became covered in a cocoon of spiderwebs. The result is an eerie, alien panorama, with any vegetation covered in a thick mass of webbing. (You can see images from the region in the gallery linked below.)
However, the unusual phenomenon may be a blessing in disguise. Britain's department for international development reports that areas where the spiders have scaled the trees have seen far fewer malaria-spreading mosquitos than might be expected, given the prevalence of stagnant, standing water.
The agency is providing aid to the communities affected by the disaster, including safe drinking water, health care, food and shelter. To reduce the population's long-term dependence on that aid, the government agency is now offering wheat seeds and tools to farmers, and jobs and skills training for those in rural areas. However, reconstruction in the worst-hit areas is expected to take many years.
Image: U.K. Department for International Development
- 1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth
- Assassin Bug Eats Spiders After Feigning Capture
- Giant Spider Species Discovered in Middle Eastern Sand Dunes
- The Spider Awards: Wired.com's Arachnid Hall of Fame
- Black Widow Spiders Are Wasteful Gluttons
Sent from James' iPhone