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Nature's Master Trappers

     I was taking a hike with my kids this morning and while I led the way along the path I ran into more spider webs that I can count.  Annoying, yes, but it got me to thinking about how spiders lay their traps.  Do they just spin webs where it's convenient and hope to land a passing bug, or do they strategize and outsmart their prey?  A little research yielded some interesting facts.

     Many species of spiders spin orb shaped webs on a horizontal plane, which is what I noticed when I began to observe them.  Researchers believe they do this to gain the advantage of camouflage.  Insects flying up from the ground are less likely to see the web silhouetted against the sky.  A horizontal web is also less likely to be damaged by the wind, yet as the web vibrates in the breeze it is still effective in catching insects in slow, horizontal flight.  All trappers, even spiders, know that you have to understand the habits and limitations of your prey in order to outsmart them.

     Still other spiders spin several webs that each consist of only a single "trapeze line" which they patrol.  These lines are spun at all angles and various lengths but are anchored to the same point, and spun at hot-spots of insect activity.  Sounds like a "gang set" to me.

     It's fascinating, to me at least, to know something about the tactics of these little trappers, and how they follow some of the same principles we do regarding set location, position and camouflage.  This link will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about this subject.

     On a final note, it's interesting that the Bible acknowledges the skill of the spider, and uses it as one of nature's examples of industriousness.  "The spider skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in king's palaces" (Prov. 30:28).

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