In Brief

Greek town covered in spider webs

Warm temperatures has sparked an ‘explosion’ in spider population of Aitoliko

A Greek beach has been turned into an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare, as hoards of spiders weave thousands of cobwebs all along the shoreline. 

Newsweek reports that “warm temperatures and an abundance of food” has prompted an “explosion in the spider population” in the western town of Aitoliko, where their webs now cover an area stretching 300 metres.

Maria Chatzaki, a biology professor at Greece’s Democritus University of Thrace, says the creepy-crawlies appear to belong to the genus Tetragnatha, commonly known as stretch spiders due to their elongated bodies.

“These spiders are not dangerous for humans and will not cause any damage to the area’s flora,” she told Greek-language news site Newsit.gr. “The spiders will have their party and will soon die.”

Local resident Giannis Giannakopoulos told CNN that he first noticed the “veil of webs” earlier this week and took photos.

“It’s natural for this area to have insects, no one is especially worried,” he said. “But I have never seen any spider webs this big in my life.”

Biologist Fotis Pergantis, president of the region’s Messolonghi National Lagoon Park, says the warm weather has led to an increase in the presence of gnats, on which the spiders feed.

“When these temperatures last long enough, we can see a second, third and fourth generation of the gnats and end up with large amounts of their populations,” he said.

“It’s the simple prey-predator phenomenon. It’s the ecosystem’s natural reactions and once the temperatures begin to drop and the gnat populations die out, the spider populations will decrease as well.”

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