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Kathy asked me a question t'other day, and I was baffled. However, as always, I have great faith in my readership to answer these burning questions with either truth or a really plausible lie.

Bob the spider comes back every night, builds his rather large web over the sliding door, and eats the bugs that come to the lighted glass. Every morning, he takes the web down like a good little spider and retires into the woodwork so that I can exit the house to water the plants. Bob, having impressed me with his courtesy, and being anyway outside the glass, is exempt from the Wiggler Compact (the Wiggler Compact being that if it comes in the house and I see it, it dies.)

What does he do with the silk he takes down? Every morning he quietly demolishes a rather large web at least two feet in diameter. I realize that spider silk is unbelievably thin, so he could just be making a teeny tiny ball and dropping it, but I wonder. Does he eat it? Play with it? Save it for later? Where does the used silk go?

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I believe he eats it.
At least I remember readin somewhere that many spiders, including the garden spider (araneus diadematus) build a new web every day and eat the old one.
Since spider silk is pure protein, it seems plausible - throwing it away would be a waste.

Spider silk is basically protein. Spiders eat their old webs.


He probably eats it. Some spiders do that so that they can re-absorb some of the protein that they spent to spin the thing in the first place. It's a matter of arachnid efficiency.

Well most spiders eat it (which I did not know until i read the other replies) but wouldn't it be neat if, being a polite and eco-friendly spider, he was reusing it to furbish his den in the woodwork?

Can't you just see him? After a hard night catching bugs he retires to his den, walls papered in delicate paisley patterned silk, armchair and card table made of branches shackled together and cushioned with silk. Bob, in a smoking jacket, of course, sitting with his feet up as he toasted flies over a roaring fire and sniffed mothdust snuff?

Nah. I think he wads it up into teeny balls that become the seeds for dust bunnies. You see, the dust is attracted to the adhesive properties of the spider silk and it attaches to it.

After enough of the dust has attached to the wad of spider silk it begins to form a proto-intelligence akin to that we see with Lawyers and Politicians.

After that the proto-dust bunny roams throughout the environment seeking it's natural habitat. Beneath Furniture. After finding said environment it goes into a dormant stage, slowly collecting the nearby dust to it, adding more to it's negligible mass and even more negligible intelligence until it awakens in the predatory morph, known as the cob web. You can see evidence of their predatory habits by how they move to high perches to keep watch over the landscape and most successful ones have accumulated much dust to their growing fibers.

Some, those able to escape the cobweb's most common predator the broom, are able to go into hibernation beneath nearby terrain, most often beds, again. What becomes of this creature after it's dormant stage is currently unknown. As of yet, scientists have not discovered the next step in dust bunny evoloution. Tho it is surmised that it may be either pomeranian or, in a dominant form, a shih tzu.

We have a similar explanation involving paperclips and wire-hangers!

I would like to add...

Not all cobwebs evolve into dustbunnies... If left undisturbed, a cobweb an grow into quite the magnificent creature, known as colloquially as "feathers". They most often found on the anterior side of ceiling fans, inside motors and cold air vents, and other places where brooms to not venture.

Whether a nest of feathers has given up its predatory habits or not is unknown, but they are hardy enough to resist all but the most thorough cleaning.

Also, if left undisturbed, dusbunnies evolve into "kittens".

It uses them to create little parachutes, with which it sends messages to all the other spiders. "Come on over! She suspects NOTHING."

And then, one day, you will wake to find the walls a SOLID MASS OF SPIDERS. And then THEY will be in charge of what's on tv, and what bugs can stay in the house, and whether or not to swat humans with newspapers!

I suspect you may have seen "Joe's Apartment" one too many times.

Once was once too many. *g*

All I can say is if I were a spider, I would use the old webbing to knit myself many fine sweaters and perhaps a nice poncho. I would be a spidery little Clint Eastwood in my poncho, and it would be g l o r i o u s. With little knitted booties, too.

My wife says that the spider reweaves the silk into little shirts for his friends. Look for other neighborhood bugs wearing silk shirts, and see if this hypothesis proves out.

They eat it. It's expensive in energy and nutrients to make so they consume it. Yum yumm

O.O All I'm sayin' is that I recommend that you keep an eye on those webs just in case messages start coming up. And if a pig starts hanging around, a very humble pig, well....be sure to tell us all about it. :)

I forsee a future picture, with a mom spider trying to get her kid to eat all his silk 'cause it's so good for him!

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