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Spider with Web Decoration

Spider with Web Decoration
Photo Information
Copyright: Randy Dillinger (Dillinger) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 44 W: 16 N: 63] (217)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-08-29
Categories: Spiders
Exposure: f/2.8
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-10-08 10:10
Viewed: 3188
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I'm not sure what species of spider this is (would appreciate any insight), and while the spider itself is very attractive, there is another element in this photo that is attention-getting... Toward the bottom of the photo is a zig-zaggy mass of silk called a stabilimentum, or web decoration. Unfortunately, this photo only gives a hint of the decoration, as my original purpose was to capture the spider fully in the frame. But perhaps you will recognize and recall spider webs which you have seen with the same sort of decoration.

The web site bugsinthenews.com explains the origin of the name as deriving "from someone's early presumption that it served to stabilize the web in some way." This theory, according to the site, is not given much credence today. Alternate theories include: 1) it provides a means to help camouflage the spider from predators; 2) it could serve as a warning to birds, which might otherwise unwittingly fly into the web and require the spider to rebuild it; 3) stabilimenta have been shown to reflect ultraviolet light, and may thus serve to attract insects to the web. Others have posited that stabilimenta help regulate excess silk, or that it may simply serve an aesthetic purpose.

According to Wikipedia, most species of stabilimenta-producing spiders use only silk in creating these decorations. There are some, however, which combine silk with other objects, including egg sacs, debris, and bits of uneaten prey. Some studies indicate that these bits of prey actually help attract more prey.

According to Wikipedia, it has been claimed that E.B. White conceived of the idea for his famous web-writing spider Charlotte (in Charlotte's Web) after observing stabilimenta in a spider web.

(Photographed at Summit Lake State Park, near New Castle, Indiana)

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  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-10-08 18:57]

Hello Randy,
I can't help with the identity, but you have captured a wonderful image of this particular spider in it's web.
Fine detail and natural coloration along with just the right amount of exposure makes this a top notch photo. Very informative notes!! TFS.

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