Updated: May 18
Silk is produced in the silk glands with the help of spider spindles. Spinnerets are special organs that allow a spider to determine what type of thread it needs for its web.
Silk threads can be thick, thin, dry, sticky, beaded, or the smooth. The threads that the spider uses to build its web begin as a liquid, but they dry quickly in the air.
Spider webs are very elaborate. How do spiders learn to make such complex geometric patterns? Making webs is innate to spiders, which means that no one has to teach them how to do it. They are born knowing how.
When the spider starts a web, it releases a silk thread. The string attaches to something - a branch, a room corner, a door frame - wherever it builds its web.
When the spider moves back and forth, it adds the more threads, strengthening the web and creating a pattern. Lines that travel from the center of the web to the outside are called "radial lines". They support the web. The threads that run around the web are called "orb lines".
So why do spiders spin webs? When you need the food, you go to the grocery store. When the spider is hungry, it heads to the web.
The main reason spiders spin webs is to eat dinner. When an insect, such as a fly, flies into a spider's web, it gets caught in sticky threads.
When a spider catches its prey in the sticky filaments of its web, it approaches the trapped insect and uses its fangs to inject venom. The venom either kills or paralyzes the prey, allowing the spider to enjoy its dinner in the peace.
However, not all spiders use webs for food. Some don't build networks at all. Other spiders chase their prey. Some even make sticky nets, which they throw at their prey when they get close enough.
Types of spider webs and the spiders they produce
The shape of spider webs is one of the most important pieces of information useful in identifying spiders. The main types of webs are described below, although some groups of spiders "roam free" and do not produce webs.
Spiral orb nets
They are wheel shaped nets that have a round shaped silk frame with internal mounting lines that are pulled down to create wheel 'pistons'. The orb weaver and garden spider are two spiral orb web builders.
These networks appear to be randomly built. The most well-known intertwined web spider is the black widow.
These webs, as one might expect, look like web tracks often located between rocks and in thick vegetation, helping to hide and shelter these spiders. When complete, funnel-shaped webbing creates a silky burrow that enables these spiders to capture prey. Hobo spiders and the giant house spiders are members of the funnel web builders.
These networks, which resemble funnel nets, run along the bases of trees or on the ground. The spider uses tube webs to hide until the prey releases a silky streak that radiates from the web. Pipe spiders are found in the United States and around the world.
These spider group webs are created in the form of a concave web that is held across bushes or feathers of grass and woven into a thick mat. Leaf web spiders are generally very small spiders. The web can be described as a deadly swing when viewed from the perspective of a spider's prey. These spiders are sometimes called money spiders because their appearance brings good luck.
These spiders create a distinctive triangular web that appears to be part of a typical circular spiral web. Triangular web spiders finish and squeeze the web. When the prey makes contact with the web, the spider releases a portion of the web known as the anchor line, which enables the spider to spring forward and capture the prey.
Woolly web spiders spin their webs using tiny, electrostatically charged silk fibers, rather than sticky silk. Their webs work similarly to how cling wraps work, so the web's woolly fabric is very effective at capturing spider prey.
Nursery web spiders carry their egg sac hanging under the female spider's body. When the spiders are preparing to give birth, the female will drop the egg sac, fold over the leaves of the plants, and place the egg sac inside the folded the leaves, all of which helps protect the egg sac.
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