General Question

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Why do spiders jerk when disturbed?

Asked by evelyns_pet_zebra (12883points) September 13th, 2009

I’ve noticed that a spider will jerk its web with quick sudden movements when you disturb them. A puff of breath will cause them to do it, or even a fairly large bug captured in the sticky strands of the web will make certain spiders jerk its entire web, as if attempting to dislodge the trapped insect. Does anyone know why a spider might do this? I’m looking for someone with a scientific view or actual knowledge on this phenomenon, I can come up with plenty of smart-ass responses myself.

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13 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

relieve tension.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m not a scientist but…

me big, spider small?

I came across the most amazing spider web the other day. The spider was in the middle of the web and I ran inside to grab my camera. The second i ran inside the spider moved to a corner and I couldn’t get a decent picture. Blerg!

Response moderated
evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@jonsblond I’ve been leaving my porch light on all night to feed the spiders that live on the front of my house and under my awning. The bugs come to the light, and the spiders get a meal. Sure, it increases my carbon footprint eyeroll but it feeds the little darlings.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@eponymoushipster @SeventhSense thanks for reading the details, guys, I really appreciate it. ~

eponymoushipster's avatar

who said my response was a smart ass one?

Facade's avatar

I thought it was just a normal response. I jerk when I’m startled too… maybe I’m a spider!

Aethelwine's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I’ve seen several spiders this year that I’ve never seen before and you’re the first person that comes to mind. That is why I grabbed my camera :)

Response moderated
Garebo's avatar

I think you are right, they are ready for chow time and they are doing there punch ahead of time so they don’t have to yank on it and have their dinner squirt all over the place. It must be like a trampoline you jump on it hard, the other guy goes flying. In spider speak he is preparing his meal.

Bluefreedom's avatar

A spider web is an intricately and exquisitely designed architectural creation. So much so that it is probably very sensitive to motion and disturbances to alert the spider of danger and/or that it has caught some prey and it is time to retrieve it for a meal. There this no basis for fact in my speculation here. It’s just an explanation that makes the most sense to me.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@jonsblond thanks for thinking of me, I may not be able to identify them, but I’d sure love to see the pics. I’ve seen some really neat spiders this year as well, and I even found one of those bulbous assed house spiders in the cupboard yesterday. I lifted him out, he ran off my hand and hit the floor. As he was scurrying away, the dog came over and ate it. I immediately ordered the dog over to give my wife a kiss, which of course got the expected response. }:^P

snowberry's avatar

They jerk on the web to further ensnare their prey.

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