The New South Wales town of Goulburn has been making headlines around the world after stories of baby spiders raining down for the sky started to circulate.
Photos of paddocks coated in spider webs went viral on social media, and some locals reported the sun being almost blocked out as tiny spiders and webbing fell from above.
Goulburn resident, Ian Watson, said as he looked up, he saw a tunnel of webs going up a few hundred meters into the sky.
“I’m 10 minutes out of town and you can clearly see hundreds of little spiders floating along with their webs and my home is covered in them,” he said. “You couldn’t go out without getting spider webs on you. And I’ve got a beard as well, so they kept getting in my beard.”
The phenomenon known as ‘Angel Hair’, is actually a migration technique called ballooning. Spiders climb to the top of vegetation and release a streamer of silk that catches the wind and acts like a parachute to transport them. It has been seen in other parts of Australia before and in other parts of the world.
In May 2011, a South Australian pilot described the floating ‘clumps’ of silk-like material he witnessed while flying towards Mount Gambier at a height of 2,000 feet. The flying spiderlings can travel for kilometres like this.
While affected paddocks may initially look like they have been covered by a blanket of snowfall, they are actually covered by interweaving spider webs.