Jun 27, 2014

Spider web with dew drops, Swifts Creek, Victoria, Australia. (CC BY-NC)
Credit Fir0002/

6/29/14 & 6/30/14: This week on "Fieldnotes:" "Spiderwebs," written by Deborah Richie and Lynn Tennefoss, read by Caroline Kurtz. 

"We have been spider watching. A large orb spider has built a web outside the office window, and we take frequent breaks to reflect upon it.  The orb web, like the one our spider has woven, is considered the evolutionary summit of web-building because of its complexity. We've never seen the spider build its web - that's a nighttime activity. But we've learned that spiders can weave an entire web in about 25 minutes. In the first five minutes, spiders create the equivalent of a bicycle wheel, converging at a central spot. The more time-consuming task is to weave the catching spiral. Composed of a twin set of twisted threads studded with sticky glue droplets, the spiral can use up to 60 feet of silk.

In contrast to the nearby desk, this spider's web looks very tidy."