How to spin a spider’s web — Waterbury Roundabout



One neighbor calls our house a “spider house”. This is because so many orbs her weavers are spinning cobwebs outside the large windows in her living room. Our spiders nest at dawn and dusk. Twisting, pulling, building and repairing, I watch their silhouettes against the pastel sky.

The Orb Web, with its radial 2D shape, is the iconic spider web. But different types of spiders weave different types of webs, from simple to complex. These include the aptly named triangular webs, funnel webs that glisten in the morning dew of lawns and fields, and the myriad cubic tangles or spider webs that have been compared to galaxies for their structural complexity.

In most cases, spiders build webs as their homes or as their primary tool for catching food, or often both. Females are usually calm and circling, while males wander in search of mates. Scientists have studied several web-building behaviors in detail, such as the orb his weaver and spider web creator.

Building an Orb Web requires four different silk building materials and follows recognizable stages. The frame of the web is made of super-strong silk that is secured with a second cement-like silk. The spider starts with a proto-his web of several threads and spins radial threads creating a web frame. The spider then adds a temporary auxiliary spiral. This stabilizes the web and allows the spider to cross between radii as it continues to build, guiding the placement of the final capture her spiral.

As its name suggests, the trapping spiral used to trap prey usually consists of highly stretchy silk coated with a second silk glue. Spiders use wooly silk that clings to insects like Velcro fluff.

A study by Andrew Gordas of Johns Hopkins University found that spiders are constantly evaluating their webs for errors, and they use previous builds to make adjustments that are often necessary when building in unpredictable outdoor environments. Go back to the stage.

Gordus likens web building to choreographing a dance, saying: There is sensory input, namely music. ”

For spiders, “music” is a thread, and they always listen to it with their legs. Part of this listening is literal, as spiders use their webs to detect vibrations transmitted through their silk. But they also “hear” the web, paying attention to how well it works. Damaged or poorly constructed webs need to be improved. Otherwise, the spider will either go hungry or risk being caught by other predators.

Just as a dance can have sections defined by characteristic movements, stages of orb web construction are characterized by specific actions. When spiders make radial threads, they enter and exit from the center of the web. As they build their inner spiral, they repeat specific silk-fixing behaviors.

Spiders that build three-dimensional entangled webs, commonly called spider webs, also undergo recognizable construction stages. As described by Markus Buehler and Wei Lu at MIT, this type of web-building spider first uses superstrong silk to create a rough outline of the web containing the major anchor points. increase. Once they are established, spiders further develop their webs. This may include stretchy threads and sticky booby traps. Within two days, Spider will create her web with all the major functional architectures, but will continue to improve and repair it over time. Like the Orb Web Builder, the Spider Web Builder is always listening to her web.

The length of time spiders maintain their webs varies. Some repair and strengthen the web over an extended period of time, while others build a new one every night.

Spiders, who are exemplary recyclers, often eat and reuse old silk. Orb weavers outside my living room window tend to hold their webs for several days before consuming the old webs and spinning new ones. It essentially maintains the same nest for months, stretching it out as it grows and repairing it when I move the support object.

Regardless of the type of web they weave, I find spiders fascinating and say, “Spiders are wonderful creatures! .”

Given the number of webs around my house, my home seems to be well kept by these tiny, web-spinning guests.

Rachel Sargent Mirus lives in Duxbury.Outer stories are assigned and edited by Northern Woodlands magazine and is sponsored by the Wellborn Ecology Foundation. New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.


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