Spider Webs

Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house

— Kobayashi Issa

Spiders have been way ahead of us on design, functionality, and efficiency for millions of years. Their method of making webs goes beyond what even modern engineering, science, and architecture can produce today, their delicate threads proving to be a marvel of innovation. If the same amounts of steel and spider web silk are compared, the silk thread is stronger.

The first thread is the most difficult, as it releases it from one of its spinnerets, letting the wind carry it to an anchor. The spider strengthens this thread with others until it is sturdy enough to support the whole web. As it continues to spin radials, working from the outside in, it uses its own body to measure the space between each radial, in order to not fall through. After strengthening the center with more circular threads, the spider makes a non-stick spiral path along the web, making sure that it can move around without being ensnared by its own design. The spider only has to sit and wait before lunch appears in its sticky web. It might even recycle its own threads by eating them, replenishing energy spent in the operation.

As sunlight illuminates its intricate design, or dewdrops balance to form a delicate pearl necklace, the precision and simplicity of the process must be respected by creatures many times their size.

Please follow this link to some brilliant images of spider webs.

Also: Artist repairs spiderwebs, spiders say no thanks.