Web-spinning spiders are architects and builders. Their silk is stronger than steel of the same diameter. With this powerful material, an orb spinner can build a whole web in just one hour. First it creates a bridge line connecting two separate objects, a tree branch, a pole or even the corner of your house. It walks over and over the bridge line adding more and more strengthening silk. Then it drops three silk lines down from the middle of the bridge to create a Y-shape. From the intersection point of the "Y," it makes even more spokes. The finished web is entirely contained below the bridge line.
I have been glad to learn that complex-looking webs are quick for spiders to make, since we were forced to move a spider in front of our home. Just three days before Halloween, a large orange spider I named Tangerine built a huge web (maybe two or even three feet in diameter) right in the doorway of our house. Was the web meant to catch trick-or-treaters? Perhaps she was a candy-seeking spider. A spider with the same markings had earlier made a web off to the side of our mailbox. Perhaps she was in search of junk mail. No matter the spider's objective, it became clear that we would have to move her from our entranceway. After taking wonderful photographs, we moved her with the help of a broom. She settled into an olive tree, hopefully to contemplate her next construction.
Our arachnid visitor was hanging out directly in the center of her web. However, even an empty web may still be in use by a spider. Some spiders hide beside their webs while maintaining silk strand connections to them. If there is movement from a capture in the web, the spider, almost like a fisherman with a fishing line, feels the tug and moves in to complete the catch.
Just like the fascinating outward expressions of spiders, their webs, the inner workings of spiders are also intriguing. Spiders have eight eyes, but web-spinning spiders cannot see very well out of them. They rely on their senses of touch and hearing to detect when prey has landed in a web. However, they don't have ears. They "hear" through detecting sound vibrations on small hairs on their legs.
Spiders decorate nature with delicate-looking web constructions that are actually strong and brutal. So spiders are both artistic and scary, a perfect Halloween symbol.
I always strive to save spiders' lives when I do need to move them from my surroundings. I recently found a proverb poem, rumored to be from Kent in the Southeast of England, that may equate my actions with good fortune:
If you wish to live and thrive,
Let a spider run alive.
From a completely different place, the Ashanti tale of Anansi, a West African spider, tells of a spider with many children, each that has a special talent. One builds roads, much like silken paths through webs. Another is a soft cushion. Together the child spiders help to find their father when he ends up in a dangerous situation.
If you want to learn more about spiders, a book I found very useful for writing this spider profile is:
Read all about Anansi in:
|Home||Wildlife Viewing||Tidepools||Ocean Animal Database|