The Spiders That Decorate Their Own Webs

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To give them their proper name, stabilimenta are quite literally web decorations.  Some spiders, once their webs are complete, choose to further enhance them.  While there are competing theories as to why this is done, the jury is still out for the final verdict.  They do, however, look fantastic.

In the early nineteen fifties the children’s author EB White was struggling to come up with ideas for his second novel. One day he noticed the additional decorations on the web of a Banded Garden Spider – much like the one above. It was from this natural inspiration that he would come up with the idea of a writing spider and would go on to write one of the world’s most cherished children’s books, Charlotte’s Web. Although anecdotal this story serves as a fine introduction to this most peculiar of insect habits.

http://scienceray.com/biology/zoology/the-spiders-that-decorate-their-own-webs/

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by taliesyn30.


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I think they do this to seem bigger to their predators, as in most of the photographs they're standing over the design as if it were an extension of their legs.. maybe.
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As a biologist that has studied the genus Agriope, I am fairly confident that the reason there is a "definite correlation between the presence of a stabilimentum and the presence of a male" is because the male builds it. In my experience, females kept to themselves do not build these, and males kept to themselves built a small web that resembles a stabilimentum. Only when they are kept together do they produce a web with a stabilimentum. I have seen males weave these, but never seen females do it.
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"Although anecdotal this story serves as a fine introduction to this most peculiar of insect habits."

I hate to be a pedant, but spiders aren't insects, they are arachnids...
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