by Megan Jones
Did you know you can recognize a family group of spiders by the way a spider web is designed? These web-making skills are important to a spider’s survival, and each style helps spiders catch prey in slightly different ways.
There are over 40,000 known species with different types of silk and designs. The most common four spider web designs you’ll see while exploring nature are orb webs, tangled webs, woolly webs, and sheet webs.
Silky Smooth Designs
Orb webs are the classic looking spider webs with a wheel-shape that allows spiders to fully enter a vertical space. Orb webs help attract prey, catching up to 250 insects per day!
Tangled webs or cobwebs are known for their messy and shapeless design.
These are the webs you’ll see in the corner of an un-swept room. The ends of this web have sticky droplets that help catch unsuspecting prey.
Woolly webs have a unique texture with adhesive silk. Woolly webs aren’t perfectly made but are usually built horizontally in a geometric shape.
Sheet webs can be found strung across bushes acting as a maze of silk. When an insect flies into one of the silk strings, it is knocked into a net below where the spider waits for its prey.
Too Much Time On The Web
Spiders don’t just use their silk for web-building. They are known to use their silk as a trail behind them when hunting and as material for creating egg sacs. Some spiders even hang glide by sailing through the sky attached to strands of silk!
What Designs Are Around You?
Although most web designs are done with purpose, some spiders are known to actively decorate their webs. They creatively weave their webs daily. Now that you know what you’re looking for, even your backyard can be an adventure!
Can You find all four types of webs around you? Draw a picture of each web you find!
Spider webs can be found anywhere. We recommend your backyard, the nooks and crannies of your porch, or even the corners of an undusted room in your house!
Blog post and illustrations by Megan Jones. Photos by Melissa Cagan. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.
Spiders Catch All Sorts of Insects
Carnegie Museum of Natural History Blog Citation InformationBlog author: Jones, Megan
Publication date: August 6, 2019