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When planning for my upcoming spider unit, I wondered just how many different types of spider webs I could find around my house. I wanted to take pictures for students to see, so I went on a little spider web scavenger hunt in my yard. To my surprise, I found all types but one!
Types of Spider Webs
Tangled webs are a jumble of silk threads. They’re usually not sticky. The messy threads confuse and trap insects. Most of the time, the spider hangs upside down in the middle and waits for its prey. This little spider is about ready to wrap up his lunch!
Sheet webs are flat webs found mostly along the tops of bushes or grass. Spiders repair any damaged parts of a sheet web so they last a long time. I found this sheet web across the top of a boxwood shrub in my front yard.
Cobwebs are what we think of as abandoned spider webs that have collected dirt and dust. Look for them in corners, on the ceiling, and the sides of walls. It’s embarrassing to admit that I found this one on my porch ceiling! 🙂
Amazing, right?! I found this gorgeous orb web in between two fence pickets in my backyard.
Orb weaving spiders build their circular webs high above the ground to catch flying insects. They are mainly nocturnal spiders, doing the repair and building of their webs at night. Many orb weavers tear down and eat their web each night. They rest for a bit, and then spin a new web in the same spot.
I never stumbled upon a funnel web in my area, but I’ll keep looking! Until then, a stock photo will do! 🙂
Funnel web spiders often build their non-sticky webs in the grass or between rocks. They hide inside the center of the web and wait for their prey to come by. They run out, grab it, and pull it deep inside.
Do spiders make more than more kind of web?
Students may wonder if a spider can spin more than one type of web. The answer is no. Spiders spin webs from instinct, or built-in instructions. They are born knowing how to spin a certain kind of web. A spider that makes an orb web can’t make a funnel web and vice versa. While they don’t come up with their web’s design, spiders do adjust the size and shape of it to fit the location.
Spider Web Scavenger Hunt
I had so much fun hunting for spider webs that I thought students might enjoy doing it! I decided to include a spider web scavenger hunt in the unit on Day 3 when we talk about spider webs.
Want to do it, too? Go on a scavenger hunt outside your school. Look around the building, in the landscaping, and in corners or hard to reach places. Students might work with a partner or in small groups. If your classroom has tablets, allow students to take pictures of the spider webs they find to share later with the whole class.
Send this activity home with students if a school scavenger hunt isn’t doable. They’ll love searching around their homes for spiders and spider webs.
I’d love for your students to see these examples of different types of spider webs. Feel free to come back to this page during your own spider unit to show them to your students!