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A mysterious silk structure in the Amazon known as a "silkhenge" has just been captured in a remarkable, high-resolution new video.
These strange and tiny structures, each small enough to fit on a fingertip, have captivated and perplexed scientists since the first one was discovered in 2013 in Peru, near the Tambopata Research Center. A tapering central cone ringed by delicate silk pillars reminiscent of Stonehenge led to the name.
Video - Spiderlings - Web - Towers - Structures
Video of spiderlings breaking out of the web towers revealed that these strange structures serve as protective fences around spider egg sacs, but the species of spider behind the structures has yet to be identified.
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The gorgeous new video was shot by tropical entomologist and science communicator Phil Torres during a recent trip to Peru. Torres was one of the researchers who previously filmed the birth of the golden spiderlings, but further evidence of how and why the spiders make their delicate silkhenges has been maddeningly elusive, he told Live Science.
Thing - Night - Places - Time - Torres
"It's a thing that keeps me up at night, because it's so annoyingly hard to find. Despite having seen it in so many places I go, the next time, it's like it was never there at all," Torres said. The structures are frequently found on the undersides of broad leaves, but sometimes they show up on bark. They've appeared in flooded habitats, so that's a good place to look for them — except for the times when they appear in habitats that don't flood regularly.
"We have a pretty good idea that they're all over the Amazon basin, in places where only entomologists are looking," Torres said.
Video - Jan - Visit - Jan - Silkhenge
In the new video, which Torres shared to YouTube on Jan. 14, he documented a visit in Jan. 2019 to "Silkhenge Island" in Peru, where...
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