A Big Web at Lake Tawakoni State Park

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Ask invertebrate biologist Mike Quinn how he spent his summer and he’ll tell you…

Since July twenty-fourth it has been living and breathing spiders.

For weeks after a giant spider web was discovered at Lake Tawakoni State Park, east of Dallas, the media, public and scientific curiosity worldwide was insatiable. Quinn collected spider samples and took them to Texas A&M for identification.

I turned them over to Alan Dean and John Jackman, resident spider experts. Alan identified the spiders that I had collected as falling into twelve families. The most common spider with the scientific name Tetragnatha guatemalensis, or the Guatemalan Long-jawed spider.

Typically, spiders aren’t social. So what would make nearly a million spiders put aside their differences to build several acres of web at Tawakoni?

They usually don’t get in that kind of density unless there’s a whole lot of food available to them.

Thanks to rains at the park, there was plenty to eat. A nearby pond served as an all-you-can eat buffet.

The web buzzed with the sound of all these insects in there. And my understanding is that [available food] probably induced the spiders to congregate in high density.

Find more information about the giant web on the web, at passporttotexas.org.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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