Spiders are arguably nature’s finest fiber artists. Inside those hairy bodies is a highly concentrated liquid that produces multiple types of silken threads made from different protein sequences. These silks are used to make webs, create egg sacs, build tiny protective shelters, catch prey, and even form tiny parachutes that allow some arachnids to sail through the sky.
When it comes to webs, spiders weave many different types: triangular webs, webs with a funnel at one end, bowl or dome-shaped webs, and webs resembling flat silken sheets, just to name a few. Some of the threads in these webs are stretchy—to absorb the impact of flying insects—whereas others keep a web strong, moist, and bacteria- or fungi-free.
If you loved E.B. White's 1952 children's novel Charlotte’s Web as a kid, you’re likely most familiar with the circular, wagon-wheel-like creations made by orb-weaver spiders like the book’s titular character. In the video below—filmed by BBC Earth and spotted by The Kid Should See This—you can watch an orb-weaver spider create an intricate web, thread by thread, in less than five minutes.
[h/t The Kid Should See This]