Myth: All spiders make webs

October 23, 2015
Rod Crawford

Myth: All spiders make webs.

Fact: Technically, a web is not just anything a spider makes out of silk; it is a silk structure made to catch prey. Only about half of the known spider species catch prey by means of webs. Others actively hunt for prey (including members of the wolf spider, jumping spider, ground spider, sac spider, lynx spider, and other spider families), or sit and wait for prey to come to them (trap door spiders, crab spiders, and others).

Hunting spiders use their silk for the dragline (the single thread all spiders leave behind them when they walk), the egg sac, and in some species, the retreat (a little silk "house" the spider rests in), all shown below, but do not make true webs.


Hunting spiders that make no webs:

Wolf spider

Wolf spider, Pardosa vancouveri.
Photo: Rod Crawford

Ground spider

Ground spider, Zelotes fratris.
Photo: Markku Savela

Crab spider

Crab spider, Misumena vatia.
Photo: Bob Thomson

Silk structures that are not webs:

Dragline made by Metine orbweaver

Dragline made by Metine orbweaver.
Photo: Bob Thomson

Egg sac made by Araneine orbweaver

Egg sac made by Araneine orbweaver.
Photo: Bob Thomson

Retreat made by jumping spider

Retreat made by jumping spider.
Photo: Bob Thomson

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