Web building is one of nature’s greatest feats in architecture, and a recent viral video paid homage to their beauty as it captured a time-lapse of a spider working away from start to finish. While arachnophobes may be reticent to praise these eight-legged engineers, that some species of orb weaver will spin and deconstruct one of these webs every day is certainly not to be scoffed at.
Having clocked over 60 million views at time of writing, it seems the tiny spider's mammoth efforts have not gone unnoticed by the TikTok community where user @dinaoren0 first posted the video.
The artist at work in the video appears to be the spiny orb weaver who is pretty hard to miss. Spiny orb weavers sit in the Gasteracantha genus and are very striking spiders, with a white abdomen adorned with punky red spikes. They’re found in the US, Central America, and the Caribbean and measure just a few millimeters in width.
Spider webs take on all shapes and sizes in the animal kingdom, with some being large enough to take over entire towns. They’re a master tool in hunting, capturing insects, and storing meals for later and some species even lace theirs with neurotoxins to paralyze prey. Other impressive designs have seen webs act as pulleys for lifting a big meal and anchors for stabling the net, as well as nets and slings for catching passing prey
Scientists have taken great interest in spider webs and web building in the past. In 2020, researchers challenged spiders to build in zero gravity by sending them up to space. The study revealed new insights into the role that light plays when spiders try to orientate themselves.
However, one doesn’t need a science degree and a budget facilitating transport into space to learn about the delicate art of web-spinning. Simply take a look outside and marvel at the silk spinners’ craft.