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Orb Web Spider

One of the most beautiful sights is to see an early morning orb web bejeweled with dew droplets. Spiders which construct orb webs belong to the family Araneida. Some of the species in this family are quite large and although they might look fearsome, members of this group are generally harmless. Spiders belonging to this family are very diverse in colour, shape and behaviour. Sexes differ greatly in size and shape, the mass of the female sometimes being as much as a thousand times that of the male.

The characteristic wagon wheeled shape webs function as effective traps to ensnare prey. This webs are highly visible in the early morning especially after dew has fallen and incident light is at a low angle. The webs are sticky and if you go for a bush walk the person walking up front usually ends up full of sticky spider web threads. The way in which a spider will spin this type of web is as follows. The spider locates itself near to where the web is to be built and releases silken threads which are carried by the wind and eventually attach themselves to some object such as a branch. This is referred to as the bridge line. The spider then walks back and forth across this line laying additional threads to strengthen it. Then, from the attachment point, the spider walks, releasing a drag line behind her and attaches it to a number of points to form a framework. A Y frame is then constructed in the interior of the framework and thereafter a series of radii which converge on the centre or hub of the web. Moving outwards from the hub a number of non- sticky silken spirals are constructed. The radii are attached at right angles and drawn together in even lengths for 6 to 12 circles. Now, starting from an external point of the frame, the spider lays out a spiral of sticky threads inwards towards the centre stopping at a point which demarcates a spiral free zone. The web is generally constructed at dusk and often dismantled at dawn. Typical members of this group include the garden orb web spiders and the kite spiders.