An unusual reason for a Mazda recall in the US has received worldwide coverage – a spider likes the smell of petrol so much it chooses to build its webs in emission control systems.

Mazda Motor said on Thursday it was recalling 52,000 2009-10 6 cars over concerns the fuel tank could crack and leak — because of spider webs. The vehicles were built at the Auto Alliance plant in Flat Rock between April 2008 and February 2010.

Mazda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that “a certain type of spider may weave a web in the evaporative canister vent line”, the Detroit News said.

That could lead to pressure in the emission control system that could stress the fuel tank and lead to a crack.

Mazda said it found a spider web when it reviewed a complaint in October 2009.

According to Reuters, the culprit is the Yellow Sac spider, which makes the 6 (Atenza in Japan) its home because it is lured inside by the smell of the fuel.

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“While it’s very rare, this spider’s distinguishing characteristic is that it likes the smell of gasoline, caused by the hydrogen oxide,” automotive journalist Mitsuhiro told the news agency.

“Once it smells the gasoline from outside, it will go inside. In the United States, it’s a relatively common type of spider.”

The 6 has two pipes coming out from its petrol tank which is extremely rare and means the smell of the fuel is strong enough to draw the spider in but not strong enough to kill it, Kunisawa said.

He added that there was no similar problem with any other Mazda car.

As part of the recall, dealers will install a spring to prevent spiders from entering the vent line.