'Rain' of spiders horrifies arachnophobes in Brazil

Brazil has been struck by a 'rain' of arachnids in something out of an arachnophobe's worst nightmare.

Photos and videos taken by residents in the southern state of Minas Gerais show hordes of spiders covering the sky.

João Pedro Martinelli Fonseca, who recorded footage of them, told local media he was "stunned and scared" by the sight.

His grandmother Jercina Martinelli, told local paper Terra Do Mandu "there were many more webs and spiders than you can see in the video. We've seen this before, always at dusk on days when it's been really hot".

However experts say this is typical behaviour in the region during hot and humid weather.

Adalberto dos Santos, an arachnology professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, told The Guardian the spiders are from the species parawixia bistriata, a rare 'social' spider.

Working together as a community, they build giant webs invisible to humans as large as four metres wide and three metres thick between trees and bushes. There they wait for prey, including insects and small birds, which they consume at dawn.

Profdos Santos says the spiders aren't harmful to humans as their bite only causes discomfort. However they are useful as they eat pests like flies and mosquitoes.

"They benefit us far more than they harm us," he told The Guardian.


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