What are the types of spider webs?


Table of Contents for: What are the types of spider webs?

The first type of spider web is the Spiral Orb webs

The Orb Weaver Spiders web. What are the types of spider webs?

The Orb Weaver Spiders create the typical circular shaped web with central spokes.
Then neat intersections are woven out of an elastic capture thread.
The web may contain at least four different kinds for strength, flexibility, stickiness, etc. Orb Weaver Spiders often completely redo their webs on a daily basis.

There are over 3100 species commonly found in gardens and forests.

The second type of spider web is the Tangled or Cob Webs

The Tangled or Cob Webs. What are the types of spider webs?

These webs look messy, but are made up of strands of high-tension catching threads that connect to a floor, branch or something that the victim walks along.
An insect touches the sticky droplets, the line breaks and pulls the insect up into the central tangle as the thread contracts.

Some tangle-web spiders join with their neighbouring spiders to form up to a thousand joined webs reaching hundreds of metres to catch insects and even small birds and mammals.

In this group is the common house spider and the infamous Black Widow Spider.

The third type of spider web is the Woolly Webs

These woolly webs have an adhesive silk that is electrostatically-charged to catch it’s prey:

It all starts with the silk-producing cribellar gland.
At 60 micrometers, it is among the smallest silk glands ever observed and is covered in microscopic spigots that produce a low-viscosity liquid silk.
In contrast with other spiders, whose silk comes out of the gland intact, scientists were surprised to discover that uloborids’ silk is in a liquid state when it surfaces.
As the spider yanks the silk from the duct, it solidifies into nanoscale filaments.
This “violent hackling” has the effect of stretching and freezing the fibres into shape.
It may even be responsible for increasing their strength, because filaments on the nanoscale become stronger as they are stretched.
In order to endow the fibres with an electrostatic charge, the spider pulls them over a comb like plate located on its hind legs. (This also gives the thread its wool-like appearance.)”

‘Spider spins electrically charged silk’ 27 Jan 2015 by Monique Brouillette [i]

The most well known spider from this group is the tropical Cribellate Orb Weaver which has no venom, and just squeezes it’s prey to death in the web strands.

The fourth type of spider web is the Sheet Webs

A Sheet Web. What are the types of spider webs?

These spiders are known as Sheet Weavers or or Money Spiders.
The idea behind these webs is that a flying insect hits an overhead single thread and is knocked down into the catchment net.
These spiders just keep expanding their nets and repairing any holes in them.

There are over 4600 species in the sheet weaving group.

Money spiders are known for floating through the air called “ballooning”.

The fifth type of spider web is the Funnel Webs

A funnel web. What are the types of spider webs?

The Funnel Web spider hides inside the funnel and when it senses movement on the outside it dashes out, bites it’s prey and pulls it back into the funnel

A common example is the grass spiders.
The funnel web spiders are harmless to humans but they should not be confused with the funnel-web spiders of Australia which are deadly.

The sixth type of spider web is the Triangle Weaver webs

Triangle Weaver webs. What are the types of spider webs?

This spider sits at position ‘A’ on the image holding the elastic web line tight.
When it’s prey is felt on the web, the spider lets go with it’s back legs, whilst still holding the line with it’s front legs, so it is catapulted to it’s prey!
Also, the now slack web mesh starts to close on the caught creature.

Which makes it the only known creature, besides humans, to employ a strategy known as ‘external power amplification’, a new study finds…
Basically, an animal uses an external device (in this case, the spider’s web) to store energy, like a person storing energy in a bow with a pulled-back arrow.
Once the energy is released, the spider is flung forward like a slingshot, greatly exceeding the speeds at which the arachnid could otherwise travel…
The manoeuvre is so fast, the spider can be hurled forward at accelerations of about 2,535 feet/second squared (772 meters/s^2), the researchers found.”

‘This Crafty Spider Doesn’t Have Venom…But It Does Have a ‘Slingshot” by Laura Geggel published May 16, 2019 [ii]

It is a native of the United States and Canada.

The seventh type of spider web is the Ogre-faced spider hand-held net

The net-casting spider, or gladiator spider or ogre-faced spiders. What are the types of spider webs?

Known as Net-Casting spiders, Gladiator spiders and Ogre-Faced spiders.

This spider hangs on a single strand holding a rectangular web horizontally in it’s long front legs.

When it’s prey walks beneath it the spider drops the net over the creature.

This spider has remarkable eyes:

These eyes have a wide field of view and are able to gather available light more efficiently than the eyes of cats and owls.
This is despite the fact that they lack a reflective layer (tapetum lucidum);
instead, each night, a large area of light-sensitive membrane is manufactured within the eyes, and since arachnid eyes do not have irises, it is rapidly destroyed again at dawn.
To aid further in netting prey, the spider places white fecal spots on the surface below the net and uses them for aiming.
The spiders also lack ears and use hairs and receptors on their legs to distinguish sounds at a distance of up to 2 meters.”

‘Deinopis’ Wikipedia [iii]

The eighth type of spider web is the Trapdoor spider web

web trap door

Trapdoor spiders make a silk-lined, vertical, underground burrow.

This has a camouflaged trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk.

The group contains: ‘mouse-spiders’, in South America and Australia, ‘folding trapdoor spiders’ from the USA and Japan, ‘brush-footed trapdoor spiders’ with pantropical distribution, ‘cork-lid trapdoor spiders’ in tropical and subtropical regions, ‘wafer-lid trapdoor spiders, etc.

The spider, upon hearing it’s prey quickly opens the trap door, grabs the creature and pulls it back into the burrow.

The ninth type of spider web is of the Purseweb spider

The Purseweb spider. What are the types of spider webs?

This makes a tube of silk in a burrow and it extends above the ground level with some debris over the exposed tube.
When it’s prey comes near it slices through the tube and drags the creature back into the silk hole.

Atypus affinis, a Purseweb spider of Europe, including Southern England.

Atypus muralis is a Purseweb spider of Central Europe to Turkmenistan and it can create a hole about one metre deep.

Atypus piceus is a Purseweb spider of Europe to Moldavia, and Iran. It’s burrows are about 30cm deep.

There is one species from USA and another from Japan, China, and Taiwan. [v]

The tenth type of spider web is of the Diving bell spider

Diving bell spider's web. What are the types of spider webs?

This spider lives entirely underwater and it attaches it’s ‘home’ to underwater plants.

It lives in it’s silk ‘diving bell’ ‘B’ on the image, the web holding the water out and keeping an air bubble inside!

It is from northern and central Europe through Siberia and Central Asia and Japan.

In construction of the diving bell, first a platform of silk is constructed between water plants.
The spider then swims to the surface, sticks its abdomen out of the water and holds its hind legs backward around the abdomen, thus enlarging the volume of air that can be captured and transported by the air-trapping hairs.
Air bubble in tow, the water spider dives as best it can to the nest it is constructing, swimming down and climbing along water plants.
Upon reaching the nest, the spider releases the air bubble beneath the diving bell and strengthens and extends the sides of the structure.
Different types of silk are used to anchor the nest to the water plants around it, compose the actual nest structure, and surround the area of the nest with ‘trip-wires,’ which detect the vibrations of an insect in the vicinity. (Bristowe, 1958; De Bakker, et al., 2006)
It has been found that the diving bell is utilized not just as a water-free space, but as an oxygen reservoir or external lung. Water spiders are able to monitor the oxygen concentrations of their diving bell and will resurface to obtain more air when the concentration of oxygen becomes too low and/or the concentration of carbon dioxide becomes too high. (Schutz, et al., 2007)
Females spend most of their time inside the diving bell, acting as ambush predators.
A female sit in her nest with her front legs protruding into the water underneath, waiting for the tell-tale vibrations of silk threads to pounce on her prey…”

‘Argyroneta aquatica’ by Rose Filoramo [vi]

What are the different kinds of spiderweb threads?

Here are the different types of spider webs, but not every spider would have all of these different silks:

A spider away from it's spider webs. Amazing Spider webs
  • Drag-line silk to form a strong skeleton for their web
  • Scaffolding silk to support the web whilst constructing it
  • Capturing silk to make the ‘net’ for ensnaring prey
  • Shielding silk to protect egg sacks
  • Rope silk to tie the prey up
  • Male sperm web for fertilisation
  • Gluing silk to stick things
  • Web point bonding silk

How did spiders get to have so many different kinds of web silk and structural designs of web?
It would appear to be designed and not just randomly appear.

I would suggest that the ability to do all these things has been given by God the great Designer.

References:
[i] ‘Spider spins electrically charged silk’ 27 Jan 2015 by Monique Brouillette
[ii] ‘This Crafty Spider Doesn’t Have Venom…But It Does Have a ‘Slingshot” by Laura Geggel published May 16, 2019
[iii] ‘Deinopis’ Wikipedia
[iv] ‘List of trapdoor spiders’ Wikipedia
[v] ‘List of Atypidae species’ Wikipedia
[vi] ‘Argyroneta aquatica’ by Rose Filoramo

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