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Spider  Why are Orb Web Spider Webs Shaped like that?

Web - Photo  Copyright 2005 Gary Bradley
Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
To help you identify house and garden spiders there's a beautifully illustrated fold out chart in the Nature Shop - click here

Orb web spiders are so called because they produce an almost circular web which has radial supports, and a spiral of silk running from the centre around to the outside edge.

There are approximately 5,000 spiders in the world which spin these kind of webs. Spiders which create more irregular shaped webs seem to catch just as much food, so scientists don't really understand why orb web spiders go to the trouble of producing these almost perfectly round webs.

Most likely they are built this way for strength and longevity. Producing all that silk puts quite a strain on the spiders energy, so naturally the spider will want the web to last a long time. When an insect flies into the web, the impact  needs to be absorbed by the radial threads. By making the web almost symmetrical the force is distributed more evenly through the web, and making the web less likely to tear.

Track Down More Info

What is a Spider?
How do Spiders Spin Webs?
Is This a Deadly Spider?
Flying Spiders!
UK Safari Spider Section

Click Here Spiders of Britain and N. Europe
The ultimate field guide to spiders. A must for all arachnophiles everywhere. Superbly illustrated.

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved