If you aren’t arachnophobic, think about this the next time you see a “pretty” spider web. Early in the morning, if there is enough moisture in the air, the gossamer webs may sag under the weight of thousands of dew droplets, but “spider silk” is extremely strong.
Webs are an amazing feat of engineering, determination, confidence and hope: choosing the right location; attaching those difficult “draglines” of the outer web; seeing the project to completion; hoping for a tasty meal.
Speaking of meals, we rarely see male spiders because they are often killed (and sometimes eaten) after mating. Canoodling is a risky business because females are often much larger than their male counterparts. Researchers, working at the National University of Singapore, discovered that male orb-weavers that gave their mates a “massage” after mating were 60 percent less likely to be killed and eaten.
Orb-Weaver web photographed by Victoria Rivas.