Pakistan’s Incredible Cocooned Trees

Published February 10, 2014
Updated April 4, 2018

Following a 2010 Pakistani flooding, millions of spiders fled to the trees for shelter and spun thick webs, resulting in spectacular cocooned trees.

In 2010, ten years’ worth of rainfall poured onto Pakistani cities and villages in less than a week, completely ravaging the affected areas. While this flood was like others in many unfortunate ways–people were displaced, homes were ruined, rivers surged—one surprising consequence was entirely unique to the area. Once the rain stopped, people began noticing cocooned trees covered by sticky webs.

Flood Victims in Pakistan

Source: Bise World

Severe Flooding Causes Cocooned Trees

Source: Daily Mail

From Flooding to Cocooned Trees

Since it took longer than usual for the water in the flooded areas to recede, high volumes of insects, spiders and other creatures were forced to seek shelter above ground. The result was a number of cocooned trees wrapped in spider webs so thick that they were visible from yards away.

Spider Web Cocooned Trees Next to Pakistani Man

Source: Flickr

Close Up of Cocooned Trees

Source: Flickr

While eyewitnesses named spiders as the main culprit behind the cocooned trees, others believe that various insects (or possibly moth larvae) could have contributed to the swirling webs.

Regardless of what species created the peculiar “cocoons”, pictures of them traveled quickly over the internet, with people calling the phenomenon incredible, bizarre and even terrifying.

Although the thought of millions of spiders lurking on the branches of a tree might seem spooky, the presence of these spiders and their massive webs likely had a positive impact on the state of post-flood Pakistan. In areas where the cocooned trees were found, the number of malaria-carrying mosquitoes was significantly lower.

Cocooned Trees in Australia

Residents in the Australian city of Wagga Wagga noted a similar phenomenon after a spring 2012 flood. Here, the spiders covered fields and trees in a thick, white blanket of webs. The spiders responsible for the webs in Wagga Wagga were from the Linyphiidae family and are known for releasing strands of web into the wind to move quickly, especially when in danger.

Cocooned Field in Wagga Wagga

Source: ABC

Up Close Cocooned Trees in Wagga Wagga

Source: NBC

Kiri Picone
Kiri Picone holds a B.A. in English and creative writing from Pepperdine University and has been writing for various digital publishers for more than 10 years.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
Citation copied
Cite This Article
Picone, Kiri. "Pakistan’s Incredible Cocooned Trees.", February 10, 2014, Accessed June 19, 2024.