Human beings share this planet with as many as 8.7 million different forms of life. And, out of three-quarters of these species, only one quarter (2.2 million) live deep inside the Earth's surface. Quite a surprising number, considering 70% of the Earth's surface is actually water, right? Anyways, moving on!
Among the millions of species thriving on Earth, humans are probably the least interesting (pun intended *wink). Plants, insects, reptiles, wild animals - they hold such intriguing mysteries within and around them that learning the most natural and mundane things about them can sometimes feel like huge discoveries.
Speaking of mysteries, one of the most enigmatic species on Earth is spiders. Are you awfully terrified of these 8 legged creatures? Well, maybe today we can change your perception about these scary yet amazing creatures.
If you’ve ever noticed a spider web closely, you must have realized that the way it’s designed is quite impressive. Surprisingly, it holds a complex structure that’s used to catch delicate prey. It doesn't only look appealing in the bright sunlight, but its strength-to-weight ratio is quite remarkable too.
Spiderwebs might not spell the words shining and great like in the book “Charlotte's Web,” but they're no less than engineering marvels!
The sense of design
As of now, there are about 48,000 known spider species across the world, and all kinds of them have a silk-producing organ named spinneret, which allows them to produce different types of silk. Building those strong yet fragile traps includes a certain process and pattern that’s shared among different spider species. But it seems like some webs are more advanced than others.
Now the question is, if they follow a typical process and pattern, are all spider webs essentially the same? Well, apparently not! Some spiderwebs are extremely intricate as compared to others.
Most people end up assuming that the structure and design of a spiderweb is purely functional, yet that’s not always the case. Some spider species, especially large families like orb weavers, intentionally and actively decorate their webs with extra silk, known as stabilimenta.
To understand this better, imagine a clear visual of a spider web. What do you notice? A wheel-like structure with spikes and swirls scattering outward from the center? Well, that's what a regular spider web looks like. But an orb spider’s web is different from regular spider webs. Orb webs provide a larger area for capturing prey and are almost invisible, which makes them ideal for catching flying insects. If you ever look at these webs, you'll realize that they might look similar to the other spider webs, but in reality, no two orb webs are exactly the same. They start with several strands centered around a single Y-shaped point and then adjoin more threads from the center of their frame.
What an interesting creature!
Spiders create fresh webs very frequently (every night or so), meaning that they can build about 100 to 200 webs during their entire lifetime, obviously depending upon their species. So, it's safe to say that there is at least one variation in every single web, even if not as an extreme web rotation. In case a spider is high on caffeine, then it's hard to say.