The really lovely hot weather that we have been enjoying, has meant that on a couple of mornings we have got up to thick fog. Not to worry, this is the best time to see the beauty of spider’s webs glistening in the sunlight when the sun eventually burns the fog away. Rather than just comment on the pictures I thought I would dig up a few facts, so all my information comes from Wikipedia and now I will share them with you, along with the photos I took a few mornings ago.
The word Cobweb is derived from a very old obsolete word – coppe – which meant spider, therefore coppe web = spider web.
Webs are woven from proteinaceous spider silk which is extruded from spinnerets.
The earliest spider’s web was found in some amber in southern England. The amber is 140 million years old.
The difference between spider webs and cobwebs is that spider webs are still in use, cobwebs are webs that have been abandoned.
Most spiders have 3 pairs of spinnerets, each gland produces thread for a special purpose, eg, trailed safety line, sticky silk for trapping prey or fine silk for wrapping it.
Constructing a web is an energetically costly process because of the large amount of protein required in the form of silk. After a while it loses its stickiness and therefore becomes inefficient at catching prey.
It is not uncommon for spiders to eat their own web daily to recoup some of the energy used in spinning. The silk proteins are thus recycled.
The tensile strength of spider silk is greater than the same weight of steel and has much greater elasticity.
At the moment spider silk’s micro structure is under investigation for potential applications in industry, including bullet proof vests and artificial tendons.
I’ll end with my favourite photo which I used in a previous post. Looking at this web with its spider at the centre, from all the new facts that I have now absorbed, I now look at spiders and their webs in a new light -how about you? Are you the sort of person who just brushes them out of your way or do you see the beauty of spider’s webs like I do and admire them as a wonderful creation of nature?