Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Spider's Web

I just watched out the back door for maybe ten minutes while a spider completely dissembled its web. I've never seen this and never knew they could do it. I think the spider understood that I was going to walk out the door (we don't use the back door much), and decided to conserve its resources rather than let me destroy its web. This is another thing I never knew they could do - re-consume/absorb/store their web and reuse it. Spiders are totally fucking green.

When I first opened the door, the web was a glorious complete figure blocking about half the doorway off. After it had been long enough that I realized what was happening and ran to grab the camera, the web looked like this:

As I watched, the spider traversed out to the extreme lower ends of its web and drew the web back into it little by little. I couldn't figure out if it actually has a way to pull the web back in to its abdomen to be redeployed like a tape measure recoils, or whether it was consuming its web to digest and reuse the material or something else entirely. What I can say is that the web seemed to be disappearing - a surprising quantity of it, and it certainly wasn't trailing or dangling behind like you might expect if it wasn't going into the spider's body.

The next thing that happened was the stuff nature documentaries are made of. After the spider had all but dismantled all traces of its web, it begun spraying multiple strands of silk with great force out its abdomen and into the night.

You can see the freaking exclamation marks all over as this stuff is shot out with so much force the camera captures it as a blur in the long exposure. I have never seen a spider do this before. My best guess is that it has neatly and precisely recoiled all its used silk and is now expulsing it at with much force to hopefully catch onto to some new surface from which to begin a new web. Here's an illustration:

This makes me wonder, What else are the spiders hiding from us, those crafty bastards?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pictures. I never knew a spider could do this. Fascinating stuff. Amazing what you can see if you only stop to look.

Aunt Marg

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