With autumn upon us, you may have spotted a couple more spiders in your home. It’s the time of year that spiders search for a mate and begin their hunt for a place to live over winter.
While a lot of people react negatively towards these little critters when you stop and think about it, they are pretty incredible. One of most masterful engineers in the animal kingdom—thanks to their web making skills.
Spider making a web
This time-lapse taken in North Carolina, USA, shows a Spotted Orbweaver crafting its web. The impressive structure took around 40-45 minutes in real time and spanned 76cm across the homeowner’s balcony.
How do spiders make a web?
Different spiders spin different styles of webs, but the most familiar of these is the spiral “orb” web. When a spider finds a suitable location, it lets out a stream of silk into the air. The breeze blows the silk line onto an ‘anchor’ like a twig or a wall. Once it’s attached, this line establishes the first thread of the frame. The spider then crosses the bridge and releases another thread, forming a V-shape, and then it lowers itself, to form a Y-shape. Once the frame of the web is secure the spider lays out more threads from various anchor points, working its way towards the interior of the web.
Spider silk is stronger than steel
A spider’s silk is thought to be stronger than steel, with the strongest silk belonging to Darwin’s bark spider. Despite the spider’s tiny stature, females measuring only 1.5cm, and males even smaller, its silk is tougher than Kevlar. They make their webs over rivers and lakes and the largest one ever found measured 2.8 m2.
For more amazing animals, take a look at the glass squid. A transparent squid that looks just like a glass-blown balloon.