ROWLETT – If you're an arachnophobe, a natural attraction at a Rowlett park may be the stuff nightmares are made of: A "communal" web.
"I never knew spiders could do this," a spider spectator named Pierson Clinger told us as he inspected the mega-web, spun by an army of spiders.
"Too many to my liking," said Pierson's sister, Mackenna.
No one's sure exactly how many spiders reside in the cooperative web, but Pierson's other sister, Charlize, guesses, "At least thousands, probably." That's the official estimate.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Barry Clinger, who brought his grandkids to take in the silky spectacle that sprawls hundreds of feet and envelops entire trees at Lakeside Park South in Rowlett along C A Roan Drive.
Clinger wanted to make sure he and his family witnessed what is a rare sight in our part of the world.
"I think it's just amazing," he said.
Amazing enough that even on a miserably-hot afternoon, a steady stream of curious sightseers ventured out under a beating sun to get caught up in the webs.
Among them was Jennifer Kolmes, who gained great appreciation for such things when she went through the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension's Master Naturalist program. She was amazed by the sight of so many spiders working together.
"It's just so cool," she said. "I don't know, I am just a science nerd, I guess. I just love this sort of thing."
Even if you don't love spiders, Kolmes imagines you'll probably like what's getting tangled up in the collaborative dragnet, "Lots and lots of mosquitoes," she said.
You can see them ensnared all over. Countless tiny flies have also succumbed to the sticky superstructure.
Experts say the overabundance of flying food is likely what inspired all the predators to band and bind together like this. And they say the spiders are not a threat to humans.
In fact, Kolmes thinks what they've done might be a good lesson to people.
"We can do amazing things if we set our minds to it and work cooperatively," she said.
No one knows how long the collective web and all its eight-legged erectors will remain. If you'd like to see it in person, experts advise you look, but don't touch.
The phenomenon stretches along C A Roan drive in Rowlett's Lakeside Park South just across from the circular drive and parking lot.