Sunday, May 6, 2012

Speaking of Spiders...

The very same day that I was imagining spiderweb anchor lines, I drove by the biggest spiderweb I've ever seen...
...complete with the biggest spider I've ever seen:
This is a golden orb weaver spider, and they are amazing for many reasons:
  • They build the biggest web of any spider, measuring up to 1m in diameter.
  • The tensile strength of the web is almost equivalent to kevlar, the strongest man-made material in the world.
  • They build their web for life, so it has to last 2-3 years (other spiders tear down and rebuild their webs many times).
  • Their webs are big and strong enough to trap small birds, who can tear the web in the struggle to become free.  Consequently, the golden orb spider leaves a string of insect carcasses (see the photo above) to alert birds to the web's presence.  It's the equivalent to putting a sticker on a sliding glass door to prevent people from walking into the glass (just think... spiders did it first!).
  • The largest golden orb spider ever found was discovered in... Pretoria!
Even if you don't like spiders, you have to concede that the engineering feat of the golden orb spiderweb is rather amazing!

1 comment:

wakeupcowboys said...

Wow, what an amazing creature. I looked for a long time at this spider and its web. Someday maybe I can see it with you. Hope so.