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August 10th, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

From the time I was a little kiddo, I’d spend hours walking along our house in Tehran looking for spiders and watching them while they were spinning their web. In all honesty, at the age of 31, I still get the same level of excitement as I did way back then.I don’t take expeditions looking for rare spiders in the most remote jungles on Earth!, but thankfully, I live in a place surrounded by spiders! I share my back yard (in Toronto) with 2 or 3 different types of spider. They never cease to amaze me by their masterpieces they build, innate intelligence and sophisticated calculations to produce webs.

Since then, I’ve seen many interesting behaviors from this little (sometimes private) bug. Things like eating their own web to recoup some of the lost energy during construction phase, cutting off extra supporting threads after the structure is built or building super complex constructions collaboratively with other spiders (obviously,those who are more extrovert 😉 ).

The part that I’m most fascinated with is that spider uses its own body as a measuring device and that’s why from measuring and spacing perspective, the structures they usually build look so even, strong and sophisticated.What else is interesting?… Web is built in a way that allows the spider to catch its prey with minimal efforts.An easy meal , sometimes served with its own sticky Web (source of protein…mmmmm…del.icio.us!!). Unfortunately , I still haven’t had the chance to visually observe the most difficult and challenging part of the construction, the first thread!

How the hell they can span their web in huge distances -some as much as six to eight feet in length between trees?As I said above , I have never seen this part, but based on my readings, I found that the spider utilizes the wind to carry its initial thread – and that’s the sticky thread (apparently they use two types of thread). If she is lucky , the first thread will land to where she wants it to land otherwise she goes for it “as is”.  That makes sense , because If you look at crazy web structures, they are mostly built outside and usually in windy conditions.

Couple days ago,  I found one of the best web structures that I’ve ever seen in my life in my back yard. Why is it interesting? Well, the center point is not a big deal , but three things about this structure needs to be highlighted here:

1) Measurement: Look at the distance between A and B (measured by a measuring tape so I could be be off a little bit). She built the center point right in the middle of the thread!

2) Stability: The way my girl built her web , right in the air and strengthen it by thread C (attached to the ground) is fascinating.It was a windy day , but the structure was amazingly holding up.

3) Speed: This must have been built in 8 hours max. Eight hours before I saw this, I walked through that area and because I am for sure taller than 45″ (Thread C) I could have screwed my babe’s catching net. So yes! there is no way she could have spent more than 8 hours on this.

Think about it for a sec! We (as human being) think that we are smart, right? We have all the tools available, everything, right? Now my question is : Can we build a structure, hundred times bigger than our body, using NOTHING except our own shit? In less than 8 hours? No way!


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