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Who Taught Spiders How to Spin Their Webs?

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There are an incredible 45,749 kinds of spiders worldwide. Their displays of intelligence and planning are evident in the wide variety of webs they construct. One species, the orb weaver, a master engineer, can skillfully spin (constructs) its web into the form of a circle. All spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and jaws with fangs, some of which can inject venom like a poisonous snake. Arthropods are a large group of animals that have exoskeletons covering the outside of their bodies and jointed limbs. Included in the group are six-legged insects, and crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs and lobsters. They exist world-wide except for Antarctica. They can vary in size from about the size of an ant to the size of a 12-inch (30-cm.) Giant Huntsman spider found in Laos.

Unlike most insects, spiders lack antennae and wings. The underside of their abdomens contain six types of glands called spinnerets. Spider webs are made of silk which is produced within its body and is extruded as silk threads that used to make its web. There are two kinds of silk: Sticky, stretchy, wet silk used to capture prey and non-sticky silk, that is stiff and dry, to strengthen and support the entire web. The spider walks on the non-sticky threads to keep from being stuck in their own webs.

Orb weaver spiders have eight eyes but poor eyesight. The females build their webs mainly from touch. They produce their silk threads, of which there are about five different kinds that are used for different purposes, such as alerting them to the presence of predators or to catch prey. Some of them eat their webs, which helps them replenish their silk supply. Each web is distinctive. A spider scientist can identify a spider by the kind of web he views. The webs are round and flat, and suspended by seven strands of silk usually attached to leaves, twigs, rocks or telephone poles. As it hangs from, let's say, a leaf it's attached to, the spider gets its strand of silk form that spot and attaches it to another surface. The spider then starts to spin its circular web during the night which is completed in about an hour.

One of their engineering feats is to be able to spin a web high up between two trees that may be a few feet apart. It starts by first transforming liquid silk in its unique, special glands into cotton-like, solid threads. It then pulls the silk through organs on its abdomen called spinnerets. While on one tree it raises its spinnerets into the air, and it exudes a very light silk thread that is carried by any slight breeze to the other tree. Then the real work starts. Using the thread between the trees as a tightrope walker uses his rope, the spider journeys from tree to tree hanging underneath the thread, it builds its intricate trap-home using silk threads. It proceeds step-by-step following the blueprints/directions programmed into its brain.

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Not all of the threads produced in the spider's spinneret are alike. They can be thick or thin, dry or sticky, beaded or smooth and they all begin as a liquid and quickly dry in air. One of the interesting things about spinnerets is that they allow the spider to use the built-in intelligence they were born with to choose what kind of thread it should use in different parts of the web that have different uses.

In building its web, an orb spider creates silk lines, called radial lines, that go from the center of the web outward supporting the web. Threads that go that circle the web are called orb lines. Spider webs help protect spiders from predators that set up vibrations in the web alerting the spider to their presence. They also provide their builders with a trap for catching other insects they feed upon, such as flies that get stuck on the sticky threads.

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Divine Mysteries

To build their complicated webs, the spider's different cells in the spider's different organs had to follow the directions embedded in their genes. The directions are a form of information, and apparently information can only come from a mind. Does this not infer that the original source must be the Mind of God? God only knows for sure!

~*~

[The information contained in this article re spiders was gleaned from scientists' articles posted on the internet via Google.]

 

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I am a 91 year-old retired educator turned writer who served 3 1/2 years in the army in WW II. I am an ardent fan of OpEd News and still concerned about the welfare of our country.

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