A cluster of spiders have spun a web of intrigue after turning an Australian nature reserve into an enchanted scene that belongs in a Harry Potter movie.
Haunting snapshots show a vast expanse of Kooloonbung Creek Nature Reserve at Port Macquarie in New South Wales enveloped in spiderwebs.
The jellyfish-shaped webs are used by tent spiders to hunt prey and escape predators, but this week they are putting on a spellbinding display for locals.
The phenomenon is all the more extraordinary given it is only visible at dawn and dusk when the low-lying sun makes the intricately-woven webs glow.
Friends of Kooloonbung Creek volunteer Rex Moir, 66, said: “It’s very surreal when you see it in person, like something off this planet.
“When you walk over a bridge it’s all over the place, a landscape of beautiful webs. It’s an optical illusion and you can only see it when the sun is behind.’
“Arachnophobe notwithstanding, most people think they’re fantastic and locals are on the hunt to find it for themselves.”
Photographs of the webs bear a resemblance to “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”, in which the lair of Aragog the giant spider is wreathed in his web.
But arachnophobes will be unnerved to know these scenes are all too real – and experts have revealed the little-known spectacle is
Australian Museum arachnology collection manager, Graham Milledge, said: “The webs are primarily used for prey capture or to hide from predators.”
“This phenomenon probably only lasts a few months, but I don’t think anyone has studied it before, the spiders are not particularly long-lived.
“The conditions have to be good for so many juvenile spiders to survive, which requires plenty of food available.”