Here’s an odd and wonderful story.
Wired UK posted an article today about one of the stranger consequences of the major flooding that took place in Pakistan in 2010. Evidently, there are submerged areas of the country where the threatened spider population took to the trees and spun draping canopies of webbing which completely cover them. If you love great photography go take a look at the eerie, beautiful pictures included with the article.
But the most amazing part of the story is the report from Britain’s Department for International Development who is currently working there in Pakistan. They say there are far fewer malaria carrying mosquitoes in the vicinity of these trees, in spite of the standing, stagnant water surrounding them.
The concentrated spider populations are helping to control the burgeoning mosquito population. How’s that for a lovely side effect? This strange partnership between trees and spiders is creating living, arboreal shields against disease for the people living nearby.
I love this; how tragedy can transform a creature we usually regard as a danger and/or a household pest into a profound gift of protection. I’ll remember this the next time I pick up a shoe to crush one, and instead catch it in a jar and place it carefully outside…in honor of its little, eight-footed Pakistani brethren who are (however unintentionally) protecting my own devastated and suffering brethren across the world.
One small way of gratefully participating in the web of life. (No pun intended.)
copyright Dia Osborn 2011