Wonderful Creatures

ENGINEERING IN THE COBWEB

Have you ever noticed the shapes of spider webs? Did you know that spiders produce their thread themselves and that this thread has some amazing characteristics? Or have you heard that the techniques used by garden spiders to spin a web are the same as those used by civil engineers today?

A spider needs two separate places in order to spin its web. Webs are generally spun in a corner where two walls join or between two branches. However, some spiders are so skilful that they spin their web using a single surface. How a spider spins its web is spectacular. Now try to visualise what we will tell you here.

A spider first finds a flexible branch that is long enough to spin its web. It firmly fastens a thread to the end of the branch. Walking down the branch, it continues to secrete thread. Once it covers a certain distance, it stops and ceases to secrete. It pulls the thread it has secreted until the branch is bent like a bow. The spider sticks the other end of the thread, which is now as straight as a string, firmly to that point. Then it starts to spin its web inside this bow.

Now consider what you would do if you were to stretch a string two and a half metres long between two walls that are two metres apart from each other. While you are trying to find out how, let us explain how a species of garden spider has solved this problem.

Garden spiders sometimes spin their web between two distant branches. Since such webs are quite large, they have a high capacity to catch prey. Nevertheless, their large size results in a gradual decrease in the tautness of the web, which means a decrease in the ability to catch prey. So spiders need a solution. You might have thought that the spider would spin a new web once the web is not taut enough any more. But instead of replacing the web the spider does something amazing: It secretes a thread from the centre of the web down to the ground, and fixes a small stone on to that end of the thread which is close to ground. Returning to the web and pulling the thread, it lifts the stone. Then it fastens the thread, at one end of which the stone swings in the air, once again on the centre of the web. Consequently, the web is taut again as the weight of the stone hanging from the web stretches it down.

You would probably not come up with such a solution neither would many people who do not have knowledge of construction. However spiders know and apply this technique. How does a spider know such an admirable technique and apply it so well? Moreover, every spider has spun its web applying the same technique for millions of years. There needs to be an "Authority" Who inspires the spider to use this technique because the authority to do it does not belong to the spider itself. This power belongs to the Almighty Allah, Possessor of everything, Who guides and inspires all living creatures with what they should do.

Wonderful Creatures




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