• If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a lengthy list of things that you’re planning to get around to doing someday. My own list consists of everything from “get in shape” and “write a novel” to “learn to play the guitar”, “teach my young apprentice how to whistle” and “watch The Sound of Music with Laura”.

    I’m here to tell you that it’s time to get cracking on that list. Why? Because mankind’s days as the dominant species on the planet Earth are numbered.

    It’s not the end of the world; far from it. The world will continue to careen merrily through space long after we’re gone, none the worse for our absence. The world will, however, be a very different place.

    It will be covered with webs.

    Yes, webs; sticky silken strands spun by hideous, creepy, octolimbal 1Not a real word. octocular, 2Ditto. venom-fanged, wall-crawling, skittering-around-to-the-sound-of-plucked-violin-strings arachnids for the purpose of ensnaring their hapless prey.

    The common belief is that the majority of this prey consists of unsuspecting insects, and that’s where things have started to take a shocking—not to mention species-threatening—turn. According to a Newsvine article, a massive, sprawling web apparently constructed by “social cobweb spiders” engulfs a 200-yard section of wilderness trail in a North Texas park.
    Social Spider WebThere is no photo of this monstrous web included with the article—I can only assume that the editor did not wish the sight of such a horrific construct to completely shatter the reader’s sanity—but an irresponsible commentor has seen fit to link to an article on the Texas Entomology website that contains just such a photo. I include a thumbnail of that photograph here, as well as links to both the Social Spider article and the full-sized photograph. The thumbnail does not show sufficient detail to damage the psyche and I trust that my readers—having been adequately forewarned and being possessed of exceptional strength of will and psychological fortitude—can judge for themselves whether the horror of this spectacle will be sufficient to unhinge them.

    Lest the reader adopt the mistaken belief that this phenomenon is limited to Texas, a state in which “bigger” has transcended mere adjectivity 3Faced with the complete extinction of homo sapiens I have allowed myself some leeway with the English language. I do this without apology or regret. and become a full-fledged religion, I must disclose that I have witnessed similiar phenomena (albeit to a somewhat lesser degree) right here in northeast Ohio. Just last week I marveled (and was concurrently revulsed by) a silken structure that stretched from the railing of my deck to the eave of my house, a distance of perhaps fifteen feet. More recently, one or more spiders—moving with the stealth and speed of tiny, eight-legged ninja—made several attempts to ensnare me in my own kitchen, stringing their invisible death ropes across the room in multiple locations so as to bind my head.

    Fortunately, I have survived these attempts on my life, which I can only assume were as pre-emptive as they were inadequate. The arachnids may be working together, but—at least here in Ohio—their organizational skills are not yet sufficient to mount a full-scale assault on humanity.

    There are approximately 40,000 species of spiders spinning their webs across all regions of the globe, including the Arctic. There is nowhere to run; nowhere to hide. Should the behavior of the spiders in Texas spread to the rest of the world, the human race is doomed.

    1 Not a real word.
    2 Ditto.
    3 Faced with the complete extinction of homo sapiens I have allowed myself some leeway with the English language. I do this without apology or regret.