The Science Behind Spider Webs

The collective consensus seem to all agree to hate on spiders simply for the fact that unlike us, they have eight legs and look all creepy and crawly.

Nevertheless, despite all of this unwarranted hate on spiders (you can thank them for feeding on mosquitoes that can otherwise suck on your blood and bring you disease), there’s no question that these arthropods (not insects) are one of nature’s greatest architects.

Love them or hate them, but their innate ability to construct complicated pieces of natural architecture in the form of webs is nothing short of amazing. Sure, they may come as a nuisance sometimes, especially when we walk into a doorway and catch it straight on our face, but these webs serve many purposes. It’s only fair that we give them a fair share of the spotlight.

Spider Silk

Unlike Spider-Man, spiders make their own natural silk in their bodies via special glands found in their abdomen. However, much like Spider-Man, spiders also have different types of silk they use for webbing. Starting in liquid form, silk is then turned solid as it is spun by a spider’s spinnerets. They are then either left or eaten again when a spider is done with them.

Nature’s Architect

One of the most amazing things that spiders use their silk for is to make their spider webs.

Starting from the middle, spiders usually start to make the spiral from the inside, slowly moving out as it goes along. From this, the spider then makes a final spiral web, which it builds from the outside in.

A spider’s web is usually made from a non-sticky auxiliary spiral and sticky capture webs that it uses to catch prey.

Why Spiders Build Webs

Spiders build webs for a variety of reasons, with the most common one being that they use it to catch their food. However, spiders also use webs as a hunting tool or as a cocoon to protect their own eggs. They can also use it as some sort of parachute, while some spiders use it as a trap in the ground or as their own home.

spider Having a fear of spiders can affect how you perceive them. Michael Becker CC BY-NC 2.0