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The Spider's Web

Although it looks so fragile, the spider web can actually be very resistant. The article below helps you understand the way spiders make their web. Also, not all spiders know "the secrets" of making webs.
It is soft as silk and yet as strong as steel, it will glisten in the early morning sunlight like countless tiny diamonds...it is also the thing that people hate to get in their hair and it is made by a creature that freaks a lot of people out...it is the common everyday spider web; but on second look, it might be less common.

The web is built by the spider out of something that is called proteinaceous spider silk (spider silk for short), it is a device built to catch insects and in so doing, give the spider a meal. However, not all spiders build webs with a meal in mind, in fact, some spiders do not build webs at all!

When God created the earth He also created many types of spiders...and man in an attempt to get them a little organized, has put them into different groups according to the webs that are spun.

There are the Spiral orb webs built by the Aranneidae family as well as some others; you can also find the tangle-webs (cobwebs), funnel-webs, tubular-webs, sheet webs and dome webs (tent webs). Now to us a spider web is a spider web but there is actually a lot of design that goes into it; just take a look at the silk: there is more than one type of silk.

First you have the capture silk, which is sticky and does the actual catching of the insects and then you have the silk that is not sticky and is used by the spider to get around his web and make repairs and so on. Webs are built at almost any angle imaginable. With so many spider families, there are many different types of web out there; you can find the loose, out of order webs that seem to be nothing more than tangles of silk (they are for flying insects), then you have the webs that are perfect in every way, every strand in its place; to say the least, these webs are just as effective in getting the insects, as the messy ones.

So the big question"How do spiders even make web?"

Spiders have many glands that are right at their abdomen that make the silk thread; each gland makes a thread that serves a special purpose. Up till now, there have been seven different types of glands identified, but even so each species of spider will only have a couple of these, none have been discovered to possess all at the same time. There are spiders that have as little as one spinneret, but there have been spiders found that have as many as three or four spinnerets, each one with its own function.

It is very interesting how the spider gets the whole web business started. First, he will release the first strand of the web from its spinners into the wind with the hope that it will stick to a suitable surface. When the thread has stuck, the spider will very carefully make his way across the web and strengthen it with more thread until the foundation silk is strong enough to hold up the entire web. After he is finished with that, he will make a Y shaped netting; once that is complete, the spider will start to add radials to the netting - the whole time making sure that radials are close enough together to be able to cross. In this way, he is using his own body as a measuring tool. When the radials are done, the spider will start making the spirals, he will use both sticky and none-sticky thread to do this and finally his web will be finished.

Of course, this was just a short explanation of one type of spider web, there are many variations and many different types of web, and this is just one of them.

The spider will, many times even eat some of its own web every day to regain some of the protein that it lost during the web's construction. The Spider uses the web to catch its prey; when something gets caught in the web it will send vibrations throughout the entire web announcing to the spider that there is a meal waiting for it, the spider will then carefully climb over to the insect and dispose of it in spider fashion.
By Claudia Miclaus
Last Updated: 9/29/2011
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