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The Spider Myths Site
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General Fallacies

Myth: The orb web (the round, spiral or "geometric" type of web) is a "normal" spider web.

Fact: Although orb webs are the most conspicuous webs (because they tend to be large and are often suspended in mid-air) they are not at all the most common type. In temperate regions, sheet webs are by far the most common, and cobwebs are also more abundant than orb webs. In some locations, funnel webs are also more common. Only in the tropics can orb webs equal other web types in abundance, but they still are rarely in the majority. So when you notice a spider web that is not a round orb, rest assured that it's perfectly normal.

Thumbnail of sheet web Thumbnail of orb web
Sheet web made by
Neriene digna
   (from a photo by
                Rod Crawford)
Click image to enlarge
Funnel web made by
Tegenaria gigantea
   (from a photo by
                Rod Crawford)
Click image to enlarge
Cobweb made by
Steatoda grossa
   (from a photo by
                Jim Stratton)
Click image to enlarge
Orb web made by
Araneus diadematus
   (from a photo by
                Rod Crawford)
Click image to enlarge
Examples of 4 major types of spider webs. Each functions somewhat differently in prey capture. Sheet webs and funnel webs have no sticky silk.


Text © 2003, Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture,
University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Phone: 206-543-5590
Photos © as credited
Queries to Spider Myths author, Rod Crawford

This page last updated 2 September, 2010

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