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Posted by on Jul 16, 2016 in Tell Me Why |

Does a Spider Ever Get Caught in Its Own Web?

Does a Spider Ever Get Caught in Its Own Web?

It is unlikely that spiders get caught in their own webs. Spiders build webs to trap insects for food. A spider’s silk is strong enough so that most insects can’t break through it. The spider’s web is also sticky, and an insect can’t escape once it becomes stuck. The more it struggles, the more the threads stick to it.

But the spider moves about its own web with ease. Oil on the spider’s body prevents the silk from sticking to the spider. To easily walk on its web, the spider hangs away from it and touches the sticky lines only with the claws of its feet. That’s only one of three separate things that spiders use to avoid getting stuck in their own webs.

The second of which is they have a really clever structure on all of their legs. They’re covered in tiny, tiny little hairs which has a dual effect of firstly just reducing the surface area that ever actually touches the web in the first place. So, there’s less to stick to on a spider’s leg than say, on a fly’s leg.

But also, they’re very, very thin and all these tiny little hairs come to a very fine point. And so, when the glue does get stuck to them, the oil that those hairs is coated in causes it all to run down to the tip and then it just drops off, rather than sticking to that hair at all in the first place.

Content for this question contributed by Billy Kaminski, resident of Albany, Albany County, New York, USA