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Mirkwood comes to Midland

September 1, 2007

The New York Times reports that a state park in Texas has become home to a spider web several acres in size.

Sheets of web have encased several mature oak trees and are thick enough in places to block out the sun along a nature trail at Lake Tawakoni State Park, near this town about 50 miles east of Dallas.
The gossamer strands, slowly overtaking a lakefront peninsula, emit a fetid odor, perhaps from the dead insects entwined in the silk. The web whines with the sound of countless mosquitoes and flies trapped in its folds…
Mr. Dean and several other scientists said they had never seen a web of this size outside of the tropics, where the relatively few species of “social” spiders that build communal webs are most active…

The Times doesn’t mention the possibility, but one predicted consequence of global warming is that tropical species will extend their ranges northward. Maybe the spiders have congregated to reward all those Texas oilmen for providing them with new habitat.

The Grey Lady is also mum on the explanation I find most likely: once both Tom DeLay and Karl Rove headed back to the Lone Star State for good, word went out on the grapevine that the nucleus had formed for a creepy crawler flash mob.

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