If there’s one drawback with digital cameras, it is this: that they allow you – nay, encourage you to take a gazillion photos in the wink of an eye – and then you have to spend the rest of your life sorting them, renaming them, filing them, editing them, looking for that one special photo that you know is in there somewhere because you came across it just the other day, etc etc etc … I’m sure you’ve all been through this as well, unless you’re incredibly organised, in which case, I congratulate you!
I’ve been going through some of my photos this evening, and discovered that I have quite a number of shots of spider webs; which set me to thinking about what industrious little workers spiders are, spinning all those webs, eating all those flies, and having lots and lots and LOTS of babies … Did you know that some larger spiders lay over 2,000 eggs? 2,000???!!! Holy moley, that’s a lot of eggs - and they talk about rabbits being prodigious breeders!!
I also got to thinking about how spiders are able to span large distances with their webs, and I wondered how they did that … So once again I consulted my good friends at Google, who came up with about 47,400,000 results in 0.17 seconds, in the way they always do, and I discovered that it’s the wind that helps spiders to do this: they release a sticky thread which blows away in the wind, and once it sticks, forming a bridge, the spider then travels over it reinforcing with a second line as it goes, and the rest, as they say, is history … Well, not quite, but you can read more about the construction of a spider web here:
An orb web (such as that pictured above) must be replaced every few days because it loses its stickiness (and its ability to entrap food). The largest aerial webs can measure up to 6 metres (18 feet 9 inches) in circumference (yikes! what on earth are they catching with a web that size???), and the smallest webs cover a mere 4.84 square centimetres, or about 0.75 square inches. And if you want to find out how many different types of webs there are, there’s some great information on this website:
(but be warned, it has a rather scary picture of a big, fat spider on the web page! )