Adapted from a photo of a spider web, June 26, 2017
Cecil Warburton, Spiders (1911)
Select the most perfect circular snare at hand, and examine it attentively. In the autumn, when the large garden-spider, Epeira diademata, is mature, it will probably be easy to find such a snare a foot or more in diameter… Touch the web and it adheres to the finger, but all its lines are not adhesive… The spiral line alone is viscid, and its viscidity is due to the presence of thousands of little beads of gummy matter strung on a thin elastic thread...
How does a spider build its web? I read a short selection on spider webs from Cecil Warburton’s informative book Spiders for the 51st volume of the Nonfiction Collection. Here’s the original photo I took of the circular web, shown above, which one of our Illinois spiders fastened to the railings of a pedestrian bridge that crosses a local creek. These webs are almost invisible except in the early morning, when they are covered with dew.
Our local spiders also create these interesting webs.
On August 29, 2017, I spotted a magnificent web, suspended in mid air! The spider (visible in the picture) had attached the top of its web by a few threads to the railings of a pedestrian bridge which runs parallel to the automobile bridge in the picture, and across which I was walking when I saw the web. We had had a heavy rain the night before, and the web glistened with water drops. The spider had anchored the web, which was about two feet in diameter, by dropping lines down to the flower patch shown in the picture. The distance these lines ran must have been at least 20 feet! It was an awe-inspiring architectural fete!
Here’s a closeup of the type of spider that made the web I saw on August 29th (above). I saw this spider busily at work on September 26, 2017. The spider doesn’t match the coloration of any of those shown in this informative guide to Chicago-area spiders, but it did blend in with the rust red railings, where it was building its web.
If you enjoy nature writing, you might like these books I have recorded:
The Adventures of a Nature Guide, by Enos A. Mills
The Desert, Further Studies in Natural Appearances, by John Charles Van Dyke
The Land of Little Rain, by Mary Hunter Austin
The White Heart of Mojave, by Edna Brush Perkins
or these blog posts: