Spiders Blanket Shoreline at Great Salt Lake Marina
MAGNA, Utah – Sightseers at the Great Salt Lake State Park are seeing more than just water. The rocky and grassy sections of shoreline have been overrun with spiders.
“The birds rule the beach. The spiders rule the land,” said Great Salt Lake State Park assistant manager James Wells.
Wells said the spiders, western spotted orbweavers, are attracted to the shoreline by all the brine flies. Each spring, the spiders start to come out. As the summer goes on, the spiders gorge themselves on all the tiny flies. Then the spiders themselves become meals.
“The spiders themselves get eaten by various bird species, but as you can see there are so many of them that the birds don’t even make a dent,” Wells said.
Workers at the marina spray to keep the spiders off the lookout and the visitor center, but the spiders are free to roam everywhere else. The spiders are not venomous, but the sheer number of them can be intimidating.
“Certainly along the whole lake, I’m sure we’re talking millions,” Wells said.
The spiders typically thrive until fall, when the first freeze kills the brine flies. Wells said the spiders typically die out by October.
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