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By Óscar Cusó

Spooky spiders stave off malaria after freak flood

6 June 2019

In the summer of 2010, monsoons dropped 10 years’ worth of rain onto some Pakistani cities and villages in less than a week leaving behind a water filled area the size of England. This unprecedented flood affected millions of people whose houses were ruined and had to move to other areas. 

Once the rain stopped, the villagers of Sindh saw a scenario that had never seen before: trees were covered by sticky webs that looked out of this world!

These ghostly cocoons were made not by aliens but spiders. Apparently, the flood caused a huge number of flies to emerge that attracted spiders’ appetites. Although hundreds of spiders lurking in sticky webs might seem spooky, they actually help to reduce the mosquito population.

Britain’s department for international development reported that in zones where the cocooned trees were found there have been far fewer malaria-spreading mosquitos than normal given the amount of stagnant water left by the flood. In the end, despite the misfortunes brought by the water, the cocooned trees served to fight malaria disease.

Source image: Flickr @DFID, Creative Common

Oscar Cusó, contributor for Cities4Forests and writer at National Geographic Spain.