In Brazil, an astonishing scene captured in the countryside of Minas Gerais seems to show a swarm of spiders falling out of the sky--an apparent ‘rain’ of spiders that was, in actuality, completely innocuous.
When the weather goes wild, the French say it’s raining ‘ropes,’ we say, ‘cats and dogs,’ and in Brazil…well, nothing other than spiders! Except in this last case, it’s not just a nice expression, but reality…or nearly.
This odd scene, revealed on social media, was filmed by João Pedro Martinelli Fonseca. He was crossing his grandparents’ farmlands in Espírito Santo do Dourado, a city in the state of Minas Gerais about 150 miles northeast of São Paulo, when he noticed strange black dots falling from the sky. Bizarrely enough, they were spiders!
Harmless to humans, this ‘rain’ was in fact a swarm of Parawixia bistriata, a species common in this hot, humid part of Brazil. These small bugs are usually comfortably installed in high-up webs. Their silk nests are invisible to the eye, giving the impression that the spiders literally ‘float’ in the air.
‘During the day, the spiders nest in a giant ball in the vegetation, emerging in the early evening to construct the giant web ceiling which hangs between trees and bushes,’ Adalberto dos Santos, archaeologist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, explained to The Guardian. The dimensions of these sky-high silks? About 13 feet long and 9 feet wide.
These immense ropes held between the branches allow the spiders to capture their prey: insects mostly, but also the occasional small bird. It’s nearly impossible for pretty much any flying creature to get out of its mesh unscathed.
No risk for humans
As impressive as it is, this raining-spider spectacle holds no danger at all for human beings. Dos Santos emphasized: ‘Humans have nothing to fear: the venom of this species is not harmful to humans and its bite causes little more discomfort than a red ant bite.’ Nothing to fear from Parawixia bistriata—which might in fact even be beneficial for us!
‘The vast webs of these spiders help to regulate [the presence of] insects like flies and mosquitoes that come out during the muggy evenings. They benefit us far more than they harm us,’ Dos Santos says. Unlike swarms of mosquitoes, bees, or flies, this ‘shower’ of spiders might actually not be any more unpleasant than a light summer rain. The only thing missing is a rainbow…
Check out the video above to see this extraordinary footage for yourself!