- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Orb-weaver spiders know a thing or two about web design and development.
And their skills have nothing to do with computers.
Have you ever stepped out into your garden in the early morning and seen a spiral or wheel-shaped web glistening with droplets of dew? And encountered the web developer hanging out with its prey?
Such was the case last weekend when we spotted an orb weaver or araneid with its catch, a honey bee. The bee was all wrapped up and ready to eat. Web designers and developers get hungry, too.
Why are they called orb weavers? Well, orb is an old English word meaning "circular."
"The family is cosmopolitan, including many well-known large or brightly colored garden spiders," according to Wikipedia. "With around 3,100 species in 169 genera worldwide, Araneidae is the third-largest family of spiders (behind Salticidae and Linyphiidae). Araneid webs are constructed in a stereotyped fashion. A framework of nonsticky silk is built up before the spider adds a final spiral of silk covered in sticky droplets."
So an unsuspecting honey bee flew into the sticky web, struggled to free itself and could not. And along came a spider and the rest is history. Or breakfast.