Posts Tagged ‘spinneret’

On Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I watched with fascination as this spider (maybe a Marbled Orbweaver (Araneus marmoreus) spider) worked on her web. She seemed to have started with the spokes coming out of the middle and was adding the ribs when I photographed her.

If you look closely in the first image, you can actually see the web material coming out of one of her spinnerets, the organs in which a spider produces the different kinds of silk that make up a web. I tried to figure our her process as I observed her. It looks like she would produce a length of silk, maneuver it into place on one of the spokes with one or more of her legs, affix it in place, and then start the process over again. For the final image, I moved back a little to give you a somewhat better view of more of the web and a sense of its shape.

I have photographed spiderwebs many times before, but this was the first time that I watched one being built. My admiration for the skills and artistry of spiders continues to grow—they are simply amazing.

spider making web

spider making web

spider making web

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved



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The more I watch spiders, the more I am fascinated by them. I used to think that spiders extruded only a single kind of silk, but I have learned that many spiders have multiple spinneret glands that are used for producing different kinds of silk.

One of the most amazing kinds of silk is known as aciniform silk, according to Wikipedia, which is used to wrap up and immobilize prey. This silk looks like a long gauze bandage as it is extruded by the spider.

Last month, I watched as a large Black and Yellow Garden Orbweaver spider(Argiope aurantia) wrapped up a recently captured bee. I was amazed at how quickly it accomplished the mission, spinning the prey as it wound multiple layers of silk around it. Here are a couple of shot I took that show the spinnerets in action.

I loved the reaction of one of my friend to the first photo. He imagined the bee protesting being wrapped in bandages saying, “Hey, you’re not my doctor!”

Argiope aurantiaArgiope aurantia

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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