Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spider Webs Everywhere

I was surprised this week by the number and variety of spider webs I found everywhere - so decided I should take some pictures and then figure out how they get there.

There are lots of kinds of spiders and lots of kinds of webs they spin…but here are the basics.  The spider has several spinneret glands near its abdomen that the spider spins into a silky thread.  There are up to eight different kinds of silk the spider can produce - non-sticky silk that spiders use to get around on, sticky silk to capture prey, even fine silk to wrap prey up in.

Spiral orb web

The classic circular spider web (spiral orb web) we see has sticky silk to capture prey, and non-sticky silk to let the spider get around it.

Spiders are predators, and feared in the insect world like sharks or lions are feared in the sea or grasslands.  Some hunt or lay traps for prey, but many build webs to catch their prey.

Cobwebs or tangle webs

Other kinds of webs are the classic cobweb (something prey will just get tangled up in), a funnel web that the prey will fall into and get stuck in, and even communal webs made by many spiders all linked together.

Funnel webs

The stickiness of the silk decreases over time and with exposure.  A spider will often eat its web to ingest the protein and start over again, often in the same place.

Communal web - this one stretched over several feet

Its an interesting subject, but I'll let you do some more research if you wan to find out what happens once something gets stuck in the web…

Happy Halloween!!!

1 comment:

  1. Jerry - These are gorgeous and amazing. I've been working on an easy design for dream catchers for the 4-H kids and trying to mimic spider webs ain't going to happen!