Cobwebs

 

 

Vorsø 1975-87
Araneid spider in its web, covered in morning dew, woven between stems of rosebay willow-herb (Chamerion angustifolium), Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Araneid spiders (Araneidae) are also called orb-weavers, from the old English word orb, meaning ‘ball-shaped’ or ‘circular’, in this case referring to the circular webs, which are suspended among vegetation, in fences, and other places.

This cosmopolitan family, comprising more than 3,000 species, is well-known to most people, as many of these spiders are quite colourful, and their webs are often found in gardens and along roads. Initially, araneid spiders make a framework of non-sticky threads, before adding final spirals of threads, covered in sticky drops.

 

 

Taiwan 2010
Taiwan 2010
Araneid cobwebs in a tree, Malabang National Forest, Hsinshu, Taiwan. The reddish colour in the background are young leaves of a species of maple (Acer). (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 1967-76
Araneid cobweb with dew drops, Nature Reserve Tipperne, Ringkøbing Fjord, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Vorsø 1975-87
Vorsø 1975-87
The wind has blown numerous seeds of rosebay willow-herb (Chamerion angustifolium) into these cobwebs of araneid spiders, Horsens Fjord, Denmark. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2011a
Morning dew in a web of an araneid spider, Jughandle State Park, California, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sjælland 2012-16
An araneid spider in its web, which is not quite completed, Zealand, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

USA 2012a
Araneid cobweb, covered in dew drops, woven between wires in a fence, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Vorsø 2000-15
Unfinished webs of araneid spiders, Taiwan (top), and Horsens Fjord, Denmark. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

In the town of Anping, southern Taiwan, aerial roots of a giant large-leaved fig (Ficus superba) has completely enveloped a former warehouse of the company Tait & Co. Today, the building is called Anping Tree House. More pictures from this building may be seen on the page Nature: Urban nature.

Large-leaved fig and other fig species are presented on the page Plants: Ancient and huge trees.

 

 

Taiwan 2012a
Sunshine, reflecting all colours of the rainbow in the web of an araneid spider, Anping Tree House. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Argiope is a large genus of araneid spiders, comprising about 90 species, distributed in all warmer areas of the world. Their web is quite large and often rather invisible, with the exception of a pure white silk pattern in the centre, made from densely woven threads, which form an X or a zig-zag pattern. The spider sits with one pair of legs in each of the four directions of the X, or aligned with the zig-zag pattern. This often makes the animal extremely visible, and many scientists have speculated as to what purpose this pattern is made. One theory is that its visibility might prevent large animals from accidentally destroying the web. Research has also shown that the pattern reflects ultra-violet light, which may attract prey to the web.

 

 

Bali 2009
Bali 2009
This smallish Argiope has made its web in a field of young rice plants, Bali, Indonesia. Its legs are aligned with the zig-zag pattern. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Afrika 1980-81
Argiope lobata is widely distributed in Africa, southern Europe, and western Asia. This one was photographed in Zaire. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2
This Argiope is sitting in its web, its legs aligned with the X-shaped figure, Parque Nacional de Cahuita, Limón, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2
Another Argiope from Cahuita, Limón, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica-2
This Argiope in Cahuita, Limón, Costa Rica, has caught a bush-cricket and is now entangling its prey in silk threads. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica
The pattern of silk threads in the web of this small Argiope is indeed conspicuous, but the spider itself is well camouflaged. – Reserva Nacional Hacienda Baru, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

Another striking genus of araneid spiders is Nephila, called golden orb-weavers, comprising about 23 species, which are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The female, which is many times larger than the male, can grow to 6 cm body length, with a leg span up to 15 cm. The generic name is derived from the Greek nein (‘to spin’) and philos (‘love’), thus ‘fond of spinning’. The web of these spiders is enormous, up to 2 m across, with supporting strands much longer. The webs of different females are sometimes inter-connected, together covering many square metres. Small birds and bats are reported to have been caught in these strong webs.

 

 

Taiwan 2009
Taiwan 2011
The Asian golden orb-weaver (Nephila pilipes) is found from India and Sri Lanka eastwards to southern China, Taiwan, and Japan, and thence south to Australia. These pictures, showing dorsal views of females, are from Taiwan, where this species is very common in the lowlands and lower mountains. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2014d
Taiwan 2011
Ventral views of female Asian golden orb-weavers, Taiwan. In the upper picture, a tiny male is seen to the left. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Taiwan 2009
Female Asian golden orb-weaver, sitting in her huge web, Taiwan. Remains of prey are seen above. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Costa Rica
Dorsal view of a female American golden orb-weaver (Nephila clavipes), Reserva Nacional Hacienda Baru, Costa Rica. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Comorerne 1988
The golden-legged orb-weaver (Nephila inaurata) is found in southern Africa, in Madagascar, and on several Indian Ocean Islands. This female, surrounded by tiny males, was photographed on Grand Comore, Comoro Islands. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

The genus Yponomeuta, of the family Yponomeutidae, contains more than a hundred species of moths, some of which are agricultural pests.

 

 

Bornholm 1977-96
These caterpillars of the spindle ermine moth (Yponomeuta cagnagella), sitting in their web, have almost defoliated a spindle tree (Euonymus europaeus), Bornholm, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Fyn 2010-17
Dust-covered cobwebs in a stable window, Funen, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

The rufous treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda) is a colourful member of the crow family (Corvidae), native to India and parts of Southeast Asia. It is ubiquitous in northern India, living in a wide variety of habitats, such as forests, shrubland, agricultural areas, and gardens.

 

 

Nordindien 1991
This rufous treepie is searching for spiders in a dense cluster of cobwebs, Ranthambhor National Park, Rajasthan, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Taiwan 2008
Rain drops in a cobweb, Mingtsih, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

The European cave spider (Meta menardi), of the family Tetragnathidae, is distributed from Scandinavia and Britain, south to North Africa, and thence east to Korea and Japan. Adults shun light, living in dark places, such as caves, tunnels, and mines, but will emerge around dusk to hunt, often using a single silk lasso line, which is thrown on their prey.

 

 

Bornholm 2017
This picture is from Helligdomsklipperne, Bornholm, Denmark, where the European cave spider (Meta menardi) has survived in coastal caves for at least 12,000 years. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Taiwan 2010
A tiny spider in its web, spun between two stems of common bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris), Basianshan National Forest, Taiwan. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Vorsø 1988-99
Cobwebs in a marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre), heavy with dew, Horsens Fjord, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Californien 2011
Cobweb with dew, Cascade Range, California, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Hammock-weavers, or sheet-weavers, are small spiders, belonging to the almost worldwide family Linyphiidae, which count more than 4,300 species. Their common names stem from their densely woven web, which resembles a hammock or a sheet. Another popular name of this group is money spiders, from an old European superstition, that if a sheet-weaver spider is running over you, it will spin you new clothes, meaning good fortune, moneywise.

 

 

Jylland 1991-95
Numerous webs of common hammock-weaver (Linyphia triangularis) among common hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa), Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 1991-95
Jylland 1991-95
Following a night with heavy dew, it is clearly revealed, how many common hammock-weaver webs are adorning this common box (Buxus sempervirens), Jutland, Denmark. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Sverige 2015
Webs of common hammock-weaver among grass and heather (Calluna vulgaris), Öland, Sweden. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Californien 2013b
Morning dew in the web of a sheet-web spider, Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park, Santa Ana Mountains, California, United States. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Filippinerne 1984
Raindrops create a beautiful pattern in a cobweb, Luzon, Philippines. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Autumn is the time, when young spiders spread. They climb to the top of vegetation, where they spin a disperse-thread, waiting for a puff of wind to carry them out into the world. It often happens that thousands of young spider land on a field, where their silk threads form a transparent carpet.

 

 

Vorsø 1988-99
Young spiders, huddled together in their web before they disperse, flying with the wind at the end of a silk thread, which they spin themselves. – Horsens Fjord, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

Jylland 1977-90
Jylland 1977-90
Jylland 1977-90
Jylland 1977-90
On a quiet October day, myriads of young spiders have landed in this meadow in Nature Reserve Tipperne, Ringkøbing Fjord, Denmark, where their silk threads create a transparent carpet, as far as the eye can reach. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Jylland 2013-15
Thousands of cobwebs in a field of rapeseed, covered in dew drops, Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Kenya 1988-89
Cobwebs in a bush, shimmering in the sunshine, Lake Bogoria, Kenya. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Nepal 2002
Caterpillars of a bombycid moth species, huddled together in their communal web in a barberry bush (Berberis), whose leaves they have eaten, Langtang National Park, Nepal. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Nordindien 1982
Cobwebs in a bush, shimmering in the sunshine, Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan, India. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Jylland 1977-90
Rime, covering a single thread of a cobweb, Jutland, Denmark. (Photo copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

 

Taiwan 2009
Taiwan 2009
Taiwan 2009
These fallen flowers of the mu oil tree (Vernicia fordii) have been caught in cobwebs, Sanyi, Taiwan. In the bottom picture, a puff of wind makes the flower sway. – This species is dealt with in detail on the page Plants: When the mu oil tree is flowering. (Photos copyright © by Kaj Halberg)

 

 

 

(Uploaded February 2018)

 

(Latest update July 2019)