Web Designers

Welcome to the world-wide SPIDER web!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Spiders – love ‘em or hate ’em, we can all appreciate their intricate web designs. Ever notice that webs have similar patterns? It’s as if they were created by the SAME master architect! How do spiders create their spooky masterpieces? 

Abel Corver and a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University tackled this question. They used cameras and computer programs to monitor orb-weaver spiders while they built their webs. They tracked twenty-six points on the spiders’ bodies to carefully analyze their movements. 

The scientists discovered patterns in how these tiny trades-creatures work. Spiders construct their webs in multiple stages. Proto-web is the sketching phase, outlining where the web will be. The radii phase creates supportive web lines from the proto-web center. And the spiral stages? That’s when the webs develop their signature swirls!

This research helps us understand how spiders optimize their construction process. 

Spiders don’t need blueprints – it’s all in their DNA!!

Reference: A. Corver, N. Wilkerson, Miller, J., & Gordus, A.(2021) Distinct movement patterns generate stages of spider web building. Current Biology 31( 22). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.09.030.