cannot catch food by hunting because of their
poor vision. Instead, they spin webs in the air
to trap flying insects. The spider does not
become caught in its own web, because when
walking across the web it grasps the silk lines
with a special hooked claw on each foot.
In its natural habitat each
species builds its traps according to
predetermined, inherited patterns. Whether the
web is made by a newly-hatched spiderling or a
full-grown spider, the design is the same. Only
the size differs.
spin the simplest type of web. It consists of a
shapeless jumble of threads attached to a
support, such as the corner of a ceiling. The
cobwebs found in houses are tangled webs that
have collected dust and dirt.
Cellar spiders spin tangled
webs in dark, empty parts of buildings.
Comb-footed spiders spin a
tangled web with a tightly woven sheet of silk in
the middle. The sheet serves as an insect trap
and as the spider's hideout. These spiders get
their name from the comb of hairs on their fourth
pair of legs, which is used to throw liquid silk
over an insect and trap it. The black widow is a comb-footed spider.
Some spiders spin a tangled web
containing a hackled band of dry and sticky silk.
The ogre-faced stick spider spins a web that is
made up largely of hackled bands. With its four
rear legs, the spider hangs upside down from the
dry silk. It holds the sticky web with its four
front legs. When an insect flies near, the spider
stretches the sticky web to several times its
normal size and captures the insect.
weavers weave flat sheets of silk
between blades of grass or branches of shrubs or
trees. They also spin a net of crisscrossed
threads above the sheet web. When a flying insect
hits the net, it bounces into the sheet web. The
spider, which hangs upside down beneath the web,
quickly runs to the insect and pulls it through
the webbing. Sheet webs last a long time because
the spider repairs any damaged parts.
Some sheet-web weavers spin two
separate sheets as a web. The spider hangs upside
down under the top sheet. The sheet beneath the
spider probably protects it from attack from
weave their round webs in open areas, often
between tree branches or flower stems. Threads of
dry silk extend from an orb web's center like the
spokes of a wheel. Coiling lines of sticky silk
connect the spokes, and serve as an insect trap.
Some orb weavers lie in wait for their prey in
the center of the web. Others attach a trap line
to the center of the web. The spider hides in its
nest near the web, and holds on to the trap line.
When an insect lands in the web, the line
vibrates. The spider darts out and captures the
insect. Many orb weavers spin a new web every
night. Others repair or replace damaged parts of
Laura Barr Lougee The Web of the
Spider Bloomfield Hills, MI:
Cranbrook Institute of Science, 1964
The World Book Encyclopedia
Chicago: World Book-Childcraft International,
The Spider's Silk
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