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The Spider Myths Site
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General Fallacies

Myth: All spiders make webs.

Wolf spider, Pardosa vancouveri, on dead leaf Ground spider, Zelotes fratris, on concrete Crab spider, Misumena vatia, on green leaf
Wolf spider
Pardosa vancouveri
(photo: Rod Crawford)
Click image to enlarge
Ground spider
Zelotes fratris
(from a photo by Markku Savela)
Click image to enlarge
Crab spider
Misumena vatia
(from a photo by Bob Thomson)
Click image to enlarge
Examples of 3 hunting spider families, which make no 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 (shown above) 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.

Thumbnail of spider making dragline Thumbnail of orbweaver with egg sac Jumping spider standing on silk retreat made on a leaf
Dragline made by Metine orbweaver
(from a photo by
                Bob Thomson)

Click image to enlarge
Egg sac made by Araneine orbweaver
(from a photo by
                Bob Thomson)

Click image to enlarge
Retreat made by jumping spider
(from a photo by
                Bob Thomson)

Click image to enlarge
Silk structures that are not webs.


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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