Thousands of spiders have cast strings of silk over vast areas of floodhit Australia after being forced to seek

shelter by the rising waters.
The spider webs were seen near the inland city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, where 8,000 people were forced from their homes before the flood waters receded on Wednesday.

Spider silk
Why and how did they do it?
One possible answer is the spiders created lines of silk for “ballooning.” Ballooning: A type of travel often used by younger smaller spiders.
A spider releases silk threads from its spinnerets.

DISCOVERY

Coral Sea

As the wind blows, air currents take hold of the silk and carry the spider along.
Ostia

AUSTRALIA
Brisbane Perth
Indian Ocean

Spider anatomy
Poison gland Eye Chelicera

Brain

Muscular stomach for sucking in food

Heart Aorta

Ovary Pancreas-liver Alimentary canal

Sydney Wagga Wagga

Web and silk
There are several glands located in the spider's abdomen. Each produce a different type of silken thread. There are seven different known glands. Each spider possesses only some of these glands and not all seven together.
Glandula aggregata: Produces the sticky material for the threads. Glandula ampulleceae: Used for the silk of the walking thread. Glandula pyriformes: Used for the production of the attaching threads. Glandula aciniformes: Produces threads for the encapsulation of prey. Glandula tubiliformes: Produces thread for cocoons. Glandula coronatae: Used for the production of the adhesive threads.
Source: hubcap.clemson.edu

Anus

Spinnerets
Poison duct Mouth Esophagus Intestine Stomach

Silk gland
Book-lung Oviduct

Abdominal nerve cord

How do spiders spin silk?
Spiders use spinnerets to produce silk. Abdomen Valve
The dragline silk is secreted by a gland in the abdomen and exits from spigots on the bottom of the spinnerets.

Close up view of spinneret

Duct

Spigot

Spinnerets have numerous spigots.

Silk strands Silk strands twist together twist together

SUSAN BATSFORD, GRAPHICS EDITOR, TWITTER @SBATS1; INFOGRAPHIC BY TARA CORRAN/QMI AGENCY

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