Natural Sightings #547 - Orb Weaver.jpg

A female Orb Weaver spider along the side of a building.

Josiah Ormsby took this photo in Tehachapi of a female Orb Weaver spider along the side of a building. Also known as orb spinners, this is a large group of spiders representing several different genera.

They get the name "Orb Weaver" because their webs tend to be circular or orb-like in shape. An Orb Weaver spider typically first constructs its web by stretching out lines of non-sticky silk in a circular shape like the spokes of a wheel. The spider then spirals outward from the center, laying down a spherical net of sticky silk.

When a flying insect blunders into the web and becomes trapped by the adhesive silk, the spider hurries along the non-sticky, spoke-like lateral weblines to bite the prey and bind it in silk. The spiders have no special immunity to the sticky qualities of their own silk — they just know which parts of the web to walk on and which parts to avoid.

Orb Weavers are typically found in gardens, where they can build large webs for capturing primarily flying insects that visit the plants in the garden. Many Orb Weavers build a new web each day. They start by consuming their previous web, so that this valuable protein is not lost. The spider then rests for awhile, and begins a new web. For this reason, Orb Weaver webs tend to look clean and pristine, without the dust and debris found in the older webs of other spider species.

An Orb Weaver web, stretched out amid garden plants in the early morning, may get bejewelled by dew and is a thing of geometric beauty, with glistening dew drops beading the thin silken lines.

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.