Michael Riordon

the view from where I live

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The wisdom of webs

On a summer morning walk with the dog, she gallops, I walk into a dew-laden meadow – and stop, abruptly.

spider web with dewHundreds of freshly spun spider webs glitter between blades of grass, traced in silver by the rising sun.  I’ve seen this graceful display before, but today I notice for the first time that all the webs are set in exactly the same orientation, each one in parallel to the others.


Are they set at right angles to the wind, for maximum flow of air, and thus of airborne insects, food?  Not enough wind this morning to tell.

In fact I have no idea.

But clearly the spiders know.

Explore Bold Scientists: dispatches from the battle for honest science, coming September 2014 from Between the Lines.