Spiders don’t just use silk to build webs. They can also use it to “balloon” up into the air. Here, a money spider (Tenuiphantes sp.) in the United Kingdom prepares for flight by releasing a thin dragline up into the wind.
How spider silk is one of the most versatile materials on Earth
Spiders spin webs out of silk, but they also use their threads as slingshots, submarines, and hang-gliders.
Spider silk is one of the most versatile materials on Earth. Actually a protein created by special organs known as spinnerets, spider silk can be used for transportation, shelter, courtship, and all kinds of creative ways to trap prey.
Some spiders can produce more than one type of silk. A common orb-web, for example, may contain at least four different kinds, each adding a different component, such as strength, flexibility, and stickiness.
Equipped with such a versatile material, spiders have evolved to create a wondrous assortment of webs. There are horizontal sheet webs that catch falling prey and vertical latticework webs that intercept flying prey. Black widow webs are messy affairs, while funnel webs and lampshade webs can resemble three-dimensional sculptures.