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Taking a Close Look at a Spider's Construction

If there's anything synonymous to the name spider in itself, it would be none other than the silk they produce. There is no spider existing in this world that doesn't produce silk. While spider species may not create or spin silk into webs, all of them would have a use of the silk they produce in more ways than one. That is how vital and essentially significant a spider's silk is to their very existence. There are many variations of ways on how a spider uses its silk. A spider may use its silk to protect itself from larger spider-eating predators, or to protect its young from them. Almost all spiders use their silk for their locomotion, such as swinging around from one location to another, or to dangle themselves in case they would have to put themselves down on the ground. A spider could also use its silk to retract itself immediately in case of sudden danger that might come by. And of course, the coverage of a spider's silk usage would extend to the mechanisms of catching their prey. How different types of spiders use their silk to catch their prey would vary. A type of spider would create/weave orb webs to catch small flying insects with them. There are jus unlimited possibilities as to how a spider could use its web.

The Silks, Threads and Webs of a Spider

All spider species in the planet produce silk that is composed of protein fibroin; an innate mineral found in a spider's body. This mineral is the same raw material used by silkworms to produce their own silk; silkworms are the larvae stage of particular silk moths. A single spider alone would be able to have eight different types of silk glands in its body (particularly in the abdomen). Each type of silk gland would produce a different type of silk that is also with different properties. For example, one of a spider's defence mechanisms is to leave a silk dragline behind it as they move along. The reason why there is such mechanism is that for them to be able to immediately retract themselves in case of sudden danger or a safety line for it to use in case when it has to climb back up on a higher location. Other silk glands will create cocoon threads that will serve as blank as well as protection to the newly laid eggs. And of course, another gland will produce the silk used to ensnare and capture a prey. All of the silk used for the different purposes mentioned above vary from each other.

Spider's silk is not much in size. It could only range from .9 to 1 micrometer or 0.001 mm in diameter. A spider's silk is also very light. A 20 meter produced silk from a spider would only weight about one over a thousand of a gram. But even if the spider's web is very light, it doesn't diminish in quality in anyway. As a matter of a fact the material can be as strong as nylon thread but way more elastic. The combination of both strength and elasticity is the perfect component for making a web. The web made out of spider's silk threads would be strong enough to withstand any relatively considerable impacts on it and elastic enough so that it wouldn't tear.

Types of Webs

A few people may be aware but not all webs are homogenous. There are different types of webs that different species of spiders produce. One of the most prominent webs to human knowledge is the seemingly circular orb webs which are often created by a lot of species of spiders, including house spiders which happen to have more human encounters. Orb webs are quite a wonder of nature. If you take a closer and attentive look at an Orb web, you will come to notice how it is intricately created; how its outer framework serves as a support to a continuous spiralling silk threads emanating from the center. There are other web-types that are much more irregular in shape as certain type of spiders build flimsy looking webs to make it more difficult for their prey to escape. There are certain species of common house spiders that create funnel webs with flattened silk sheets to serve as a retreat from danger or in case of rest. Cobweb spiders create more irregularly shaped webs with stickier threads at the bottom to effectively catch their prey. A sheet web spider on the other hand creates a mundane looking flat thread sheet for it to hang itself.

Spider's webs are often found on the ground or in places of low vegetation. But orb webs could span great distance from tree branches to bottom in order to cover more area in catching flying insects and others. The size of a web may depend on the size of the spider that made it. The tightness and wideness of the web's mesh depends on the type of prey it captures.

Building the Web

A spider's web as intricate as it is would have to be tediously done. A complex process as this would take spiders some time. But there are other types of spiders that are able to create webs within 30 minutes or less. What is more amazing is that spiders normally fabricate their webs at night utterly relying in their sense of perception upon construction. Spiders have their different process in building their webs, depending on what species or the location and situation the spider is currently into. Orb web weaving spiders would normally begin by spinning threads silk and letting themselves carried by the air. From then, other silk threads are spun to create a Y-shaped framework, which is the standard to orb web weaving spiders. And then the spider goes to the hub (the midpoint of the Y-shaped framework) and begins spinning threads that would eventually spiral outwards of the Y-shape framework. The auxiliary spiral created by the spider as scaffolding.
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