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X SILVER SPIDER, U.S.
Hanging head down with 2 of its 8 legs concealed along each of the sticky, white cross ribbons, the perfectly camouflaged female spider patiently waits for insect prey. The female can devour prey 200% of its own weight.

For his nearly completed book on spiders, “Life on a Silken Line” Kjell has filmed in high speed sequences of events to analyzed events when the Argiope silver spider captures small insects.

Sensing vibrations in her web, she rushes out from her concealed position, bites and injects tissue-dissolving saliva into the prey. Holding the prey with two front legs, she alternately use her two hind legs and with quick sideways sweeping motions over her spinnerets at the rear end, pulling out, not only one, but up to 50 individual silken threads. These threads do not blend into one single strand but immediately coagulate into a broad band which she adeptly slings over the victim while rapidly rolling it into a silken ball. After the roll she is ready for the spider delicacy direct from her mummified prey; insect soup.

The half-a-dozen smaller resident males, 1/8 the size of the female and – as in all spiders – unable to spin silk, wait cautiously in the lower corner for leftovers. To approach the female for food or mating, the dominant male plucks the appropriate mating vibrations or risk becoming another meal himself.
 

"Orb Weaver Spider"
Over 50 individual silken strands extruded through hollow spinneret hairs
New Guinea
 
"Diamonds at Dawn"
Orb weaver spider web
Sri Lanka

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