We typically associate spider webs with autumnal rhythms. Is that due in part to the Halloween industry? Foliage dropping from their summer keeps and exposing the silken patchworks left behind? Maybe it’s because fall is the last big rush for mating and being able to safeguard eggs before snowfall and therefore prime time to impress a significant other with a silk palace?
Perhaps it’s all these things.The morning light illuminated this web just right. The peculiar web reminds me of some kind of crazy cartoon bullseye of sorts, shouting to all who pass by “come here! right this way!” I imagine it is quite effective in luring the flying insects who are attracted to bright light. I mean, it caught my eye.
One of the perks to being moved back into a place of permanence again is getting to have my “library” back and readily accessible. I hate reading, but I love having knowledge available to grab off a shelf and dust off at a moments notice. Google searches don’t provide the same kind of satisfaction as the exploration of written words bound by dusty, yellowing pages. However, despite my best efforts using both kinds of sources, I have not been able to figure out the identity of the spider whom spun that web based purely on using the web to identify it.
And yeah, that’s a thing. Each spider Family has a specific web it weaves. Or doesn’t weave, for that matter. All spiders can produce silk, but not all spiders weave webs.
From my nerdery, aka my library collection, Spiders of North America (by D. Ubick, P. Paquin, P.E. Cushing and V. Roth):
“For hundreds of years, poets and artists have depicted the spider web as a thing of beauty and wonder. Spiders are well known for their ability to construct silken nets for prey capture, but not all spiders build webs. Among the web-building groups, the web itself is often the characteristic of a particular family of spider.“
Spider silk is produced from spinnerets, of which spiders have 3 pairs, with the surface of each pair covered in spigots. Each spigot connects directly to a silk gland in the abdomen.
“Spiders may posses up to six different types of silk glands, each secreting a unique kind of silk specific to a particular function (Foelix, 1996).”
The different silk glands produce a particular kind of silk used for different functions:
- Dragline silk (the web’s rim and spokes)
- Egg cocoon silk
- Capturing & securing prey silk
- Transferring sperm silk
- Sticky globules silk
- Forming bonds and attachment points silk
I wonder how many different types of webs I could find walking around my property if I really tried. I found 3 different types just by panning the camera view finder through the canopy off the deck on this particular morning, thanks to the streams of light. Imagine if one was more intentional in wondering about all the different kinds of 8-legged friends patrolling the grounds and air space…