Myth: Orb or round spider webs are "normal"

Illustration: Henry C. McCook
Illustration: Henry C. McCook

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.

Examples of 4 major types of spider webs.

Each functions somewhat differently in prey capture. Sheet webs and funnel webs have no sticky silk.

Spider Myths

"Everything that 'everybody knows' about spiders is wrong!" —Rod Crawford sets the record straight with Spider Myths.

a dark web
Photo: Rod Crawford

Sheet web made by Neriene digna

photo of a funnel web
Photo: Rod Crawford

Funnel web made by Tegenaria gigantea

Photo: Jim Stratton

Cobweb made by Steatoda grossa

orb web
Photo: Rod Crawford

Orb web made by Araneus diadematus

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close up of a spider

Spider Myth Resources

Explore even more! Additional spider resources and more myths (poor spiders can't catch a break!).

Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum
Photo: Cathy Morris/Burke Museum