Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Not So Eeensy Weensy Spider in the Beautiful Shiny Web

Some of the best architects and artists in the world are spiders.

They spin incredible silk webs that defy description. Their webs become works of art. 

Spiders are not my friends. The scariest ones I ever saw were in Arizona. One, a black widow, can be deadly. I found one inside my son's box of small plastic building blocks in our garage! Then there was a hairy spider as big as my palm, gliding along the bottom of our shower like a dust mop. My screams must have reached cross-country.  Tarantulas are very common in the desert. Although rather harmless, they look absolutely huge and imposing when found on one's kitchen patio door. Sorry, but I don't miss the critters of the southwest.

Back here in the east, walking up the sidewalk to our front door the other morning, something caught my eye. A very intricate spider's web seemed to have sprung up overnight. It must have been wet from morning dew since when the sunshine shone on all the newly constructed silk designs, it caused  rainbows.

Of course, the first thing I did was run for the camera to snap a picture, praying the little spider wouldn't jump out of his web and land on my shoulder. That would not have been a pretty sight. Unfortunately, the incoming sunshine made getting a clear photo impossible. Photographing from the other direction, however, made the web disappear against the sky.

Because almost everything makes me curious, once inside, I checked out spider webs on the Internet site,  The kind of web suspended in mid-air above the bush in our yard turned out to be an orb web, built by a spider overnight.  The website noted that first a spider constructs a rectangular-like frame of silk. Then, from the future web's center, or hub, it sends out several rays of sticky silk.  These are called radii or, in the singular, radius.  They are deposited radiating from the hub to the frame.  

According to, many spirals of silk are laid down over the radii.  Once the web is complete, if prey, like a fly or mosquito, is caught somewhere in the web, vibrations go to the spider so she knows where in the web the prey is located!

See? Now you know what spiders are doing while you are cuddled under the covers, sleeping through the night. Breakfast anyone?



Erin @ I Heart New England said...

Spiderwebs are so intricately beautiful; particularly when illuminated by sunset ♥

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I do not like spiders in my house. Outside they are beautiful and the webs are amazing.

mo said...

Hi Susan, I am fastinated by the perfection of the spider web also. I like when drops of dew are on it shining in the sun. *hugs*

Claus said...

Yes I am! especially after seeing a TV documentary on them, and learning that even the smallest ones (probably one would assume that if they are small they are harmless) can be very dangerous to human and other animal lives. I've been afraid of spiders and other bugs for ever, even more so when I got my puppies. They are very curious and they could come across something dangerous.
Pretty spider's web!, but the resident scares me.
have a pretty day!

diane stetson said...

I kill them whenever possible. I do not like spiders. I have the same "overnight orbs" in my yard. I hate it when I inadvertantly step into one...But they do catch flies and other things so they have their place in our world. Nice pictures.

Dayle said...

Spider webs fascinate me and make me go a bit crazy whenever I accidentally run into them. ;)

T's Daily Treasures said...

It is absolutely amazing the webs those spiders weave. Where does all that silk stuff come from?Incredible! Hope you are having a great day. :) Tammy

Linda O'Connell said...

Hubby and I watched a spider spin a web like this one evening. She worked so hard I wished I'd had a few flies to toss to her.
Our running joke, not funny at the time, was once, we stopped at a gas station for a fountain soda (tonic in your neck of the woods) and it was the best tasting cola I had ever had. I took the lid off to chomp the ice and found a big wolf spider in the bottom of the cup. YIKES!

Leann said...

Just as long as they don't decide to snuggle with me, I'm good:)


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