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Adagio's avatar

How is this strand of spider web created?

Asked by Adagio (10611 points ) March 21st, 2014

There is a spider in my bedroom that creates a single strand of web from one point in the room to another, it’s around 1.5 metres long and 1 metre down from the ceiling. I have absolutely no idea how a spider can create this single strand, how does it support itself? For those using imperial measurements 1.5 metres is about 4’ 6 “or thereabouts. I would love an answer to this, then again I guess I also enjoy the mystery.

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15 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

Aerodynamics. The spider instinctively knows that patterns of air, and uses them.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

Indoors with the lack of an air current, the spider usually – from what I’ve seen – sticks one end of the strand upon one surface, then walks it way with it’s rear dangling either up in the air or down towards the floor to the other point it so desires and fastens it there.

Outdoors well…

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Adagio Does the strand sag at all? Surely, it must. I tend to imagine a scenario for the strand’s creation something along the lines of what @Winter_Pariah wrote.

Adagio's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake it sags very little, amazingly enough.

If the spider were to walk from one point to the other, as you have suggested @Winter_Pariah, it would end up with a very long strand of web, ‘as the crow flies’ is a much shorter distance than travelling there by 8 legs and feet, if that makes sense.

@ibstubro there are definitely draughts in this room but your idea doesn’t quite seem credible somehow.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Perhaps it levitates?

Adagio's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I hadn’t thought of that, perhaps it is a student of Transcendental Meditation?

hearkat's avatar

We have forced air heating in our home, and there are definitely air currents – probably more predictable than outdoor currents, but not very strong. If the spider walks across the ceiling to the wall and then down, there wouldn’t be much sag to the line, as it is getting progressively further from the start point.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It seems intuitive that if the spider is spinning the strand as it climbs the wall, walks across the ceiling, and then descends the far wall, then there would be an enormously long strand, leaving a lot of sag.

Can the spider do such a long walk and then take up the extra length upon reaching its goal, leaving a taut strand?

hearkat's avatar

It seems that you and I are imagining different contact points, @Hawaii_Jake. I’m imagining the strand as being the long side of a triangle, but what you’ve described seems like the long side of a rectangle. Perhaps @Adagio could clarify it for us. Either way, I’m pretty sure the spider could pull the strand taught and discard the excess.

Adagio's avatar

@hearkat it is just one single line from one point to another, it is not one side of a triangle or a rectangle, there are no other sides.

hearkat's avatar

@Adagio – I was referring to the wall(s) and ceiling as the other sides of the shape. Do the strand ends attach across a corner or across to the opposite side of the room?

yankeetooter's avatar

Maybe it’s like the cord on my vacuum cleaner, and the spider gives it a little tug, and it goes “zip”, right back up where it came from…LOL!

Adagio's avatar

@hearkat the strand is from one corner to another but is not attached to the wall itself, at one end it is attached to a small bottle on a shelf and the other end is attached to a metal leadlight opening. If the spider were to walk from one end to the next, using the walls, it would be an approximate distance of 3.5 metres or 11’ 5” by my rough reckoning, if it were to take the shortest route.

Adagio's avatar

Thanks everyone for your input and suggestions, I must admit I like still not really knowing how this clever spider manages to perform its magic, some great ideas and quite probably there is some truth in there but as I say, the mystery still remains and I think that’s the way it should be.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I like mysterious spider webs.

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