Arachnophilia in Jerusalem: Spiders Weave Enchanted Webs in Israeli Forest

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Igor Armicach looks onto giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha) along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017.
Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Arachnid Collection, looks onto giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), covering sections of the vegetation along the SoreCredit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Reuters
Reuters

On the banks of a creek near Jerusalem stands an enchanted forest, its trees shrouded by giant cobwebs woven by long-jawed spiders.

Science and nature combined to create the unusual sight: the Soreq creek largely contains treated sewage full of nutrients that promote the proliferation of mosquitoes that serve as a source of food for spiders, which then reproduce in multitudes. 

"It's an exceptional case," said arachnophile Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Arachnid Collection.

He said millions of long-jawed spiders, called Tetragnathas, created the webbing that envelops the forest, a phenomenon rarely seen in the Middle East. 

But while spider egg sacs and spiderlings are everywhere along the banks of the creek, the future is bleak. Colder temperatures will soon cause a drastic drop in the mosquito population that sustains the web-weavers. 

Arachnophile Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Archnid Collection, looks onto the giant spider webs spun by long-jawed spiders along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem NovembeCredit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Giant, swirling spider webs, spun by Tetragnatha, cover plants along the Soreq creek bank. Near Jerusalem on November 7, 2017Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), cover sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), cover sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Archnid Collection, looks onto Giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), covering sections of the vegetation along the SoreqCredit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Igor Armicach, a doctoral student at Hebrew University's Archnid Collection looks onto giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), covering sections of the vegetation along the Soreq Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Tetragnatha- long-jawed spiders- cover sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank with their heaving webs, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Giant spider webs, spun by long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha), cover sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS
Long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha) weave giant spider webs over sections of the vegetation along the Soreq creek bank, near Jerusalem November 7, 2017Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS

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