This, er, explosive video showing a twinkling swarm of tiny spiders scattering in all directions surfaced on Reddit earlier this week. And as much as we'd love to tell you that the world has discovered a sparkly new species of spider, sadly, we cannot. It's all far less fanciful than it seems.

You're looking at a mama wolf spider (family Lycosidae) carrying hundreds of her babies on her back. And that emerald sparkle is what's known as “eyeshine”. In many vertebrates, like big cats, eyeshine is caused by the tapetum lucidum, a reflective layer of tissue in the eye. While wolf spiders’ reflective eyes are different, they do fulfil a similar function, helping these active hunters pursue prey in low-light conditions. And in this video, there just happen to be hundreds of eyes shining at the same time, causing that twinkling effect.

Wolf spiders are common throughout the world and there are currently over 2,000 known species. After baby wolf spiders hatch, they climb onto their mother’s back, where they’ll hang out for a few days to a week before setting off on their own.

Arachnophobe or not, it’s plain to see why bothering a baby-carrying spider isn’t the best idea. Removing one unwanted house guest is much easier than removing a scattering swarm. Should you find yourself in a similar situation, you’re better off letting it be.

Top header image: Mario Madrona, Flickr