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Spider webs or cobwebs are commonly found throughout homes in the Western and Northwestern U.S. states. Spider webs are created by spiders out of silk that is extruded from spinnerets to help catch prey. Catching prey is not the only reason spiders spin webs. Some spiders, like the brown recluse, use their web to help protect their eggs.
The difference between spider webs and cobwebs is that cobwebs are tangled and irregularly designed webs. Spider webs are more elegant and sophistically designed. Cobwebs are also comprised of a different type of silk than the spider web.
Various species of spiders are classified based on the types of webs they weave. Different types of spider webs include:
Spiral Orb Webs - Spiral orb webs are the most common spider web. This web design is associated with the family Araneidae and species include orange garden orb weaving spiders, banded orb weaving spiders, bolas spiders and silk spiders, just to name a few. This web looks like a wheel with spokes. Orb-weaving spiders and their webs are typically found outdoors.
Tangle Webs or Cobwebs - Tangled webs or cobwebs are associated with the family Theridiidae and common species include the house spider and ogre-faced stick spider. Tangled webs lack symmetry and are jumbles of threads typically attached to a support system like the corner of a ceiling. Cobwebs have the same lack of structure as tangled webs and often collect dirt and debris.
Sheet Webs - Sheet webs are flat sheets of silk between blades of grass or branches. When creating sheet webs, spiders spin a net of criss-crossed threads above the sheet. Flies end up hitting the net and bouncing into the sheet web. If the sheet web is damaged, the spider quickly patches up any holes or tares. Sheet webs are associated with the family Linyphiidae and species include the bowl and doily spider and the platform spider.
Funnel Webs - Funnel webs are large, flat horizontal webs with openings at both ends so the spider can escape. Funnel web spiders can feel the vibration of prey once present and bites it so it can bring it back to the funnel web. Funnel web spiders belong to the Agelenidae family and a popular species of this family includes the hobo spider.
Triangle - The Uloborid family is often associated with this type of web. Hence their name, triangle webs are silky strands of spokes and spirals that connect to three strands. Triangle webs are horizontal and fuzzy, which helps trap and smother prey. The Uloborid family is the only family of spider without venom glands, so their web’s fuzzy material compensates for the lack of their venomous bite.
Spiders can be found in most properties throughout the United States but certain species are more prominent in the Pacific Northwest. These species include:
Black widow spider
Giant house spider
American house spider
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