By in Random

Spiders: The Ultimate Optimists?

The eight-legged wonder of the world, the spider, seems surely to me to be the ultimate optimist. Unlike many other predators who go out in search of prey, the spider survives and thrives by spinning those intricate and delicate-looking webs.

Ah, but the webs are not as delicate as they appear at first glance. They are able to withstand wind and rain, unless very extreme. Prey who become entangled in those threads may be many times the size of the spider who spun the web, but they are held there just as surely as if held with steel bonds.

I've spent any number of hours outdoors, watching spiders spin their webs, enthralled in the detailed work such small creatures perform. Even tiny spiders are able to create sizable webs, although it would seem to me that such work would deplete their energy reserves.

I am not of a mind to kill these insect-eating wonders of nature. Do you think of spiders as friend or foe?

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Image Credit » by skeeze

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VinceSummers wrote on August 5, 2015, 12:44 PM

Their web is INCREDIBLY strong. Brought up to scale, enough to stop a moving airplane in its tracks, in fact. One huge spider brought back to my mind the book (and cartoon movie) Charlotte's Web. I didn't have the heart to kill it. It lived for some time, then died of "old age."

JohnRoberts wrote on August 5, 2015, 12:48 PM

They are a foe if they and their webs are in your house or in the way or a black widow. But spiders are part of nature's balance helping keep down the fly population.

cmoneyspinner wrote on August 5, 2015, 12:56 PM

The webs are strong and do survive the weather. Yet they can't stand up to a wack from a broom stick or the suction of a vacuum cleaner. I don't like spiders. The ones in Texas bite!! :)

Ellis wrote on August 5, 2015, 2:09 PM

Some of my best friends are spiders...but not all spiders build webs...some actively hunt..

WordChazer wrote on August 5, 2015, 3:18 PM

To me they are foe when they're in the house. We have large and black house spiders here in the UK which do not look any smaller when they are running across the pale wood flooring in the house. I can live with them, as long as they don't show themselves. When I go into the loft to get the next pile of eBay items, I always announce 'Legs IN!' as a requirement that anything alive should run and hide before I see it. I know I am allergic to spider bite, even as given by the non-venomous varieties generally found here in the UK, so I don't want to go there if I can help it. Anaphylactic shock is not something I need to have.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 3:50 PM

As long as the webs are outdoors and I'm not in danger of walking through them, I leave them alone. I am not surprised to learn how truly strong the webs are, but I do enjoy knowing the factual comparison. And to think that material is created inside what are so often very tiny bodies amazes me.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 3:52 PM

I agree with you --and they trap those pesky mosquitoes, too.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 3:54 PM

I think there are biting and poisonous spiders in just about every region, although here on the north coast of Ohio, there is only the brown recluse and black widow that I'm aware of that are venomous. I don't want spiders on me -- I like them, but not that much. I've just decided to live along side of them.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 3:57 PM

I didn't know there were spiders that hunt for their prey -- thanks for that. Perhaps when you have the time and if you have the inclination, you would write a post or two (or more), filling us in on those spiders and the ones that are your friends?!?

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 3:59 PM

Oh, WordChazer , I can understand your concerns about spider bites. I am not allergic to the spider bites, but I still don't want to be bitten. I hope you don't encounter any of them in close contact.

Ellis wrote on August 5, 2015, 4:20 PM

Zebra spiders are my favourite (salticus scenicus)...they are about a quarter of an inch long with striped bodies. You can find them on walls in the summer they have great eyesight and will observe you as you observe them.

There are also spiders that spin their web in their arms and cast it like a net to catch prey...probably a relative of wolf spider or huntsman spider.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 4:22 PM

I am familiar with the zebra spiders...they seem to almost hop at times and are just about everywhere. I'd enjoy seeing the web-slinging spiders in action -- from a safe distance. : )

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 4:30 PM

The photos would be great to see. I should have gotten out my camera the afternoon I watched a spider spin its web for a lengthy period of time. I was enthralled watching the thread come from its back end, the spider then sort of jumping a bit to create the length of thread, then using one of its back legs to create the corners.

LoudMan wrote on August 5, 2015, 6:44 PM

They are intelligent, too. They don't actually want to bite anything which isn't food or a threat. Definitely friends, is my vote.

wolfgirl569 wrote on August 5, 2015, 7:01 PM

They are friend until they get in my space. I love to see a web kissed by dew in the mornings or frost if it is cold enough out

GemOfAGirl wrote on August 5, 2015, 7:28 PM

Logic tells me that they're friends. Everything else tells me NO, lol. They do freak me out. If they're outdoors, I rarely bother them, unless I have the misfortune of accidentally walking through their webs, and then I practice my ninja karate moves to get them off of me. If they're inside my home, though, different story.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 8:03 PM

I came upon a black widow spider when moving bales of hay. I had to admire the beautiful, absolute black against the reddest red I've ever seen. Sadly, I did kill that one.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 8:04 PM

Those webs are such works of art, aren't they?

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 8:05 PM

I have a couple family members who are certain I am out of my mind to be so fascinated by spiders. lol I can just see you doing your karate moves to get that web off of you. To be honest, I do the same thing.

bestwriter wrote on August 5, 2015, 10:44 PM

I too wonder about the various unimaginable things we see in nature and a spider's web is one of them. I kill spiders because their bite is poisonous.

Feisty56 wrote on August 5, 2015, 10:56 PM

There are so many things in the natural world to see and know and understand -- a single lifetime doesn't seem sufficient to take it all in.

BarbRad wrote on August 5, 2015, 11:13 PM

I think of them mostly as friends, but don't like them hanging over or around my bed at night, and black widows aren't welcome inside. Spider webs really are strong, as one learns trying to break one.

JanetJenson wrote on August 6, 2015, 2:29 AM

Hi, Deb, that is an incredibly beautiful photo, yet spiders are my foes because I am allergic to the bites. It is better since I discovered that coconut oil takes away some of the hurt, but I still get huge red blotches that itch and burn to the point of complete distraction.

Paulie wrote on August 6, 2015, 3:37 AM

I regard spiders as friends because they catch and drink the blood of pests like flies and mosquitos. Have you read the book or seen the movie, "Charlotte's Web?' It is very interesting.

CoralLevang wrote on August 6, 2015, 7:29 AM

I do not like spiders, after being bitten by them in my sleep on two occasions. I am sure they have value, but I kill them. And it creeps me out to do so, but I'll be damned if I go through getting bitten again, if I can help it.

cmoneyspinner wrote on August 7, 2015, 3:53 PM

“Spiders live in king's palaces.” :)

AliCanary wrote on August 11, 2015, 12:30 AM

I like them! Especially the cute little wolf and jumping spiders with their furry little bodies and all those bright little eyes. Every now and then I find a largish one in the house and usher him out, gently, on my hand or in a tissue, but I let the little ones stick around. I have no earthly idea why people scream and jump around like nuts when they see them. They are very beneficial creatures, not particularly dangerous except for two kinds, widows and recluse spiders, and even those would certainly not go out of their way to bite anyone.

VinceSummers wrote on September 8, 2015, 10:18 PM

Garden spiders, friends, brown recluse, foes.

lexiconlover wrote on September 30, 2015, 2:07 PM

I will kill them, but if they aren't bothering me I usually just let them be. I did sit on a living one on accident last night when I went to the porch to smoke a cigarette. That was an accidental spider homicide.