Two important conclusions can be drawn from this evidence. First, the spider is getting a lot more action in this web than I had thought. Every major tear in the web is probably due to the struggle put up by an insect that got caught in it. Secondly, with this much damage, repairing the web would be a futile endeavor. It is easy to see why these spiders need to strip their webs down and start over every day.
I took the photo below of the spider's new stabilimentum soon after the sun came up. The rest of the web was perfectly formed, without the tears and tangles shown in the nighttime photos above and at the right. The stabilimentum seems to be thinner today, but that may be my imagination.
It almost looks like, in yesterday's web, it began to add the vertical extension at the top and bottom, then decided against it. There is no hint of that structure in the rest of the oval, however. Today's web, on the other hand, seems to have the vertical "ladder" structure built into it, running from the top to the bottom but not extending beyond the oval of the main structure.
|These are pretty poor
photos, as they were taken while the web was illuminated by a
flashlight. But they do show how much damage our spider's web has sustained over
the past 16 hours since the photos were taken on July 29.
Below is a copy of the photo from yesterday morning, for comparison purposes.
Proceed to * July 31, 2001
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