T HE web of the spider is made of two kinds of silk. The silk of the rays is smooth. The silk that goes across the rays has tiny drops of glue on it. This makes the line stick to the rays.
Mrs. Spider begins her lines at the outer edge. They are laid nearer to each other as she gets to the centre of the web. When all is done, she is in the centre, and does not need to walk on her new web.
She has a nest near her web. From the nest runs a line. Mrs. Spider can sit in the door of her nest, and hold the line in her claw. When a bug or fly goes on the web, the web shakes. She feels her line move. She runs down the line and gets the fly or bug, and takes it to her nest to eat.
Before she takes the prey to her nest, she kills or stuns it. Then she winds some fine web about it. She makes a neat bundle of it, and then carries it off.
You can make Mrs. Spider run down her line if you shake the web a very little with a bit of grass or stick. She will run out to see if she has caught a bee or a fly.
The nest of the spider is made of close, fine silk. It is like soft, nice cloth.
In shape it may be like a ball, or a horn, or a basket. Each kind of spider makes its web in the shape it likes best. In the nest the spider lays her eggs in a silk ball. The eggs, at first, are very soft. After a time they grow harder.
More than two spiders never live in a nest. Often a spider lives all alone. Spiders often bite off each other's legs. A spider can live and run when half its legs are gone. It can also get a fine new leg as a crab can. The new leg is smaller than the one lost.
When the baby spiders come out of the egg, they must be fed. The mother takes good care of them.
They grow fast. When they are grown, they go off and make their own webs. Sometimes the eggs are left in the silk ball all winter.
The baby spiders come out in the spring. Then the old ones are dead. But the young ones know how to hunt and to spin. The very young spiders do not have as rich a dress as the old ones. The hairs of their coat are not so thick at first.
The soft, silk-like coat, with its rich color, is the only beauty a spider has. People do not admire his long legs and his round, soft, bag-like body. Still, some people who watch spiders learn to like them very well.